It’s one thing to tell your kids to brush their teeth and use a mouth wash, but another thing to actually see them do it. So the answer is education. Let them know why they should take care of their teeth and gums. And that is what we are going to address in this blog.
Let your children know that their smile is one of the first things that is noticed by those around you. To have a healthy smile one needs to take care of their teeth and gums and it is not accomplished overnight. Good dental care can help produce beautiful, white and vibrant teeth and gums that will help their smile be amazing. Also, it will reduce bad breathe odor. That is what we want for ourselves and also we want for our children.
Provide education on the following
The regular routine
By brushing their teeth twice a day, trying to reduce the sugar in the diet and having regular visits to the dentist can help reduce the risk of dental decay and gum conditions.
Mouth washes are also essential to help remove food particles in the mouth that can produce bacteria. It’s a great thing to teach kids to get into a routine of brushing, flossing and then using a mouth wash. The mouth wash finishes the cleaning process.
A low sugar, low caffeine diet
Today many children begin to drink energy beverages that are not only high in sugar, but also caffeine that can stain their teeth. They can actually build up a stain that the dental hygienist may have a difficult time polishing. Using a straw to drink though may actually reduce staining of teeth and reduce tooth decay.
Sugar has a harmful effect on the teeth if one doesn’t brush, but also the acid found in coffee and in soft drinks can cause tooth enamel damage. Moderate sugar free gum is not a bad idea but shouldn’t overdue it since many contain sugar alcohols that can cause a stomach ache.
So parents say to their kids “don’t eat that because it has so much sugar”, but what alternatives are there?
Wonderful food for the teeth and gums besides other regions of the body
There are wonderful foods that actually help teeth and gums. These snacks include apples and other high fiber fruits and vegetables that are crunchy to do a scrubbing action helping to remove plaque from children’s teeth. Carrots and celery can be included in this group.
- Carrots provide a rich source of vitamin A and keratin, which both help to strengthen tooth enamel. Keratin is also good to help break down plaque. Beta carotene is used to make vitamin A, which improves dental health.
- Celery also provides a good workout for the teeth, increasing saliva to neutralize bacteria and chewing can not only help clean the teeth, but also massages the gums. Celery has stringy like strands that can act as a dental floss.
These foods contain water, fiber and have nutrients such as vitamin C which act as antioxidants to protect against oxidative damage. It also helps to strengthen tissue. Nutrients in fruits and vegetables have other important vitamins and minerals to help protect kid’s gums and other tissue from damaging bacteria.
- You can prepare snacks in advance by cutting up the fruit and vegetables and place in sealed containers or Ziploc bags. A tasty snack is peanut butter with apples, although it is wise to share with children to brush afterwards since peanut butter is sticky and can get stuck between their teeth.
In general, it is best to avoid sticky or chewy foods like caramel, syrups, raisins and other dried fruits or jellybeans since they do stick to the teeth. If they do eat them, then encourage to brush their teeth afterwards.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, Romaine lettuce, kale and also broccoli contain a wide spectrum of nutrients and are beneficial to children’s health overall, including their oral health.
Citrus fruits are great and full of nutrients, although they contain a large amount of acid. Therefore, if one eats an orange or has grapefruit it is best that they drink water afterwards and brush their teeth since the acid left in the mouth can erode tooth enamel.
Milk, cheese and yogurt are good sources of calcium and phosphorus, which are important to protect children’s tooth enamel.
In fact, the nutrients found in milk products have even been shown to neutralize at least some plaque bacterial acids.
Milk contains important nutrients like calcium and vitamins D. Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth and has been shown to reduce cavities. Vitamin D is necessary to help absorb calcium.
Research has shown an association between low vitamin D, vitamin A and protein with tooth enamel problems and cavities.
Probiotics which are the active cultures found in yogurt are helpful for the gums. The active cultures help to increase the good bacteria and reduce the bad. It is a good idea to buy plain yogurt and add a natural sweetener like Stevia or add fruit instead of buying the flavored yogurts since they are loaded with table sugar.
Making sure that children consume enough lean protein is important. It is so much healthier to make meals with meat without using boxed or frozen preparations, which may contain less nutrients and include added sugar. Consuming a variety of protein sources during the week is important including lean beef, poultry and fish or also cooked beans and eggs.
Eggs are a protein rich food, which is important for the teeth, gums and bones in the mouth, but also provides calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients for teeth and gums. Eggs are very nutritious, low in calories and without sugar for youngsters.
- One other tip, remember that eating or drinking beverages, right before bedtime without brushing the teeth can lead to cavities.
In summary, encourage and educate your child on oral health. It is much easier to encourage and see progress of them taking care of their oral health needs. Eating a diet full of vegetables and fruits, dairy and eggs have many benefits for the teeth and gums.
If you or your child has a health condition and or take medication, it’s always best to check with your healthcare provider prior to following any particular dietary program or taking supplements...
Scardina GA, Messina P. Good oral health and diet. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:720692.