General dentistry places a strong emphasis on oral hygiene and healthcare, including helping people avoid the progression of oral disease. If oral disease is left untreated, it may eventually result in tooth loss. Unfortunately, children are a high risk of tooth decay, which ultimately leads to gum disease and possible tooth loss in adulthood. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of tooth decay is to be pro-active in keeping their tooth enamel strong and healthy. Here are a few ways to help keep your children's tooth enamel strong.
1. Limit Acidic & Sugary Drinks
It is okay for children to drink fruit juices, soda and lemonade in moderation, but consuming excessive amounts of these types of beverages can increase the risk of damage to tooth enamel. To help reduce the risk of enamel loss, children shouldn't drink more than one glass of fruit juice a day, and they should drink water afterward, which helps to rinse their teeth and mouth and remove bacteria.
2. Use Kid-Friendly Toothpaste
Kids should not use whitening toothpaste, because they typically contain harsh abrasives that may damage tooth enamel. It's best to choose toothpaste that is made for children. Children's toothpaste generally contains fluoride, and they are available with kid-friendly flavors which help to encourage more thorough brushing.
3. Limit Starchy Snacks
Kids are naturally drawn to starchy snacks, such as potato chips and French fries. Although these types of foods may not be well known as being bad for teeth; the starch in chips and fries quickly turns to sugar, which feeds the bacteria in the mouth, ultimately causing tooth decay. It's best to limit their starchy snacks and when kids do eat a starchy snack, make sure they rinse their mouth with water afterward to help remove bacteria.
4. Use Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
It's common to assume that if a hard-bristled toothbrush is used, it will clean teeth better than a soft-bristled toothbrush. Actually, the best choice is a soft-bristled toothbrush, especially for children because they tend to apply more pressure when brushing. Hard bristles can wear down the enamel and irritate gum tissue. Children's toothbrushes should also be replaced at least once every three months and after getting over cough's and colds.
One of the best things you can do to protect your children's tooth enamel is to encourage regular flossing and brushing. Dentists generally recommend flossing at least once a day and brushing at least twice a day. It is also important that children see their dentist regularly. If they do have cavities, the quicker the damage is caught, the easier and less painful it is to repair the damage. Regular general dentistry visits are also a great way to stay on top of children's oral health care needs and concerns.
For more information, contact a dentist like Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA.