Frequency in Your Child’s Diet

DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

Frequency in Your Child’s Diet

We all know a toddler’s favorite food is not always the best for their teeth. It’s challenging enough to get a child to “eat the rainbow” with a balanced diet of all the food groups. Sometimes you have to bribe with a little bad to get a little good. Good and bad for the body don’t always translate to good and bad for the teeth. It’s also not about how much they consume when it comes to oral health, but how frequently they consume it.

Frequency is Key

If your child gets juice once a day, they should drink all of it at one time and with meals. Each sip of an acidic drink, (basically anything besides water) causes an acid attack in the mouth. This is what the bad bacteria feed off of and what causes a cavity. The mouth takes about 20 minutes to buffer those acids and by then, your kiddo is going for another drink. This means your mouth never has the chance to get to a healthy pH environment making the child at a very high risk all day for cavities. The same goes for snacking. If your child is eating pretzels for an hour+, the carbs break down into sugars leaving the mouth very acidic. Healthier between-meal snacks would be fresh vegetables like carrots, fruits like apples or strawberries, yogurt or cheese. These all have a more balanced pH and won’t leave the mouth so acidic.

Incorporate Water Into Your Child’s Diet

Water, water, water should be your child’s best friend. It truly is a natural “medicine” for kids and helps keep things functioning properly. Tap water contains fluoride, which helps prevent a cavity and a hydrated kid is less likely to get sick. Even flavored waters are a no-no, 0 calorie, and 0 sugars don’t mean they aren’t acidic. In fact, they are very acidic. Sticky foods like fruit snacks and even dried fruit like raisins are even more likely to stick into the teeth. A sugary treat is surely ok but the key is to limit it to meals and if the child is drinking plenty of water, their risk for decay will go down. Another huge factor is the nighttime brushing. Lots of parents report their child has a glass of chocolate milk every night before bed or a cup of milk. Milk contains natural sugars that settle into the grooves of the teeth and along the gumlines. When we sleep, our mouth gets very dry so we don’t have the saliva to help cleanse the teeth. Always help your kiddo brush before bed to be sure they are doing a good job. If you have questions about your child’s oral health, contact Dental Reflections Dublin. Dr. Rudi As-Sanie and her team are always happy to help.

Oral Habits in Children

DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

Oral Health Habits in Children

Often times, children will develop oral habits that are hard to break. The most common ones we see are a pacifier and thumb. Studies show these habits are about as hard to break as an adult who is trying to quit smoking. It takes a lot of encouragement, patience, and consistency to try to get children to break these habits. Of course, the sooner, the better to take them away, but it is not always that easy.

Thumb Habit

The first problem with a thumb-sucking habit is you can’t take the child’s thumb away. This is one of the hardest to break. We have children/teens up to age 15 that are still trying to break their thumb habits. At this point, intervention with an orthodontist is best. We are talking way before the teen years. We start to see teeth move around age 4-5 if a child is an excessive thumb sucker.

The good news is, if the child can stop, the teeth will move back significantly. More of the permanent damage starts when a child begins to lose their teeth. When their permanent teeth come in, they aren’t as forgiving, and the teeth won’t move back as quickly. This occurs typically around age 6. So, the goal is to encourage them to stop sucking the thumb before they start losing teeth. There are different “contraptions” available to help a child stop. The orthodontist can place a retainer with a built-in appliance that goes in the roof of the mouth and behind the top front teeth where the thumb goes. The child is then unable to place the thumb where they want it or usually keep it. You can also place a glove or sock over the child’s hand when they sleep at night. Another great technique to use for a thumb sucker is to tell the child they can only suck their thumb in the corner, or in a room by themselves with no media, no blanket or toys or anything “fun.” When they are done, they can come back out with everyone else. The goal is that eventually, the child will get sick of taking a break to suck their thumb and stop.

Pacifier Habit

A pacifier can be a bit easier to break, but still very challenging. It’s a security item for a child, and they grow very attached to it. There are tips and tricks you can use to get rid of a child’s pacifier. Take the pacifier to build a bear and have them put it in the bear when they make it, and they can use the new stuffed animal as their new security. Another tip is to poke pinholes in the pacifier, so the child does not get the same sucking action they are used to. You can also tell the child a pacifier fairy is going to come and take all their pacifiers to give them to little babies that need them, and they will leave them a small gift. Nighttime, of course, is typically the hardest time to take it away.

Be sure to encourage your child with whatever it is you are trying to eliminate and praise them as they cut back and let them know how proud you are. Remember, this is not easy for them! As we mentioned above, patience is key and will help with the child’s confidence to quit. For family dentistry in Dublin, Ohio, contact Dental Reflections today!

Children’s Dental Health Month

DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

Children’s Dental Health Month with Dental Reflections Dublin

February is one of our favorites – Children’s Dental Health Month. It’s the time to really focus on the dental health of children and how to keep their teeth clean and healthy. We know it can be a struggle to try to keep up with your child’s oral healthcare routine, but it truly sets the stage for their entire life. Starting good habits while the child is young will create a routine, the child will understand the importance of. This month, our blogs will center around different topics for a child’s dental health and hopefully offer many tips and tricks to keep your little one(s) teeth clean and cavity-free.

Tips for Brushing

Wording can be everything when you start giving your child options. Never ask them if they are ready to brush their teeth. What kid would ever be ready? Associate brushing with something else. Maybe it’s every night before reading books, or every night after bath time. Let them know at that time every night; now it’s time to brush. If you stay consistent, they know there is no option. Yes, they may put up a fight, but be adamant about it getting done, and they will get tired of fighting night after night. The same goes for mornings. Be sure you are getting that twice a day brush in. Lots of plaque bacteria form on our teeth at night when we sleep, and morning time is extremely important to brush to make sure food is less resistant to sticking to the teeth throughout the day. It is important to start using fluoride toothpaste at first tooth eruption. You only need a rice size amount smeared into the bristles of the toothbrush. Yes, we know your 6-month-old is not going to rinse and spit, and that’s ok. This meniscal amount of fluoride is not going to be toxic when your child swallows it. You can wipe out the remaining toothpaste with a washcloth using your finger after brushing.

Flossing and Mouthwash Use

Flossing is best at night and just once per day. We find it easier to floss with the string floss than the floss picks. You have more control when using the string. The picks tend to snap and may hit the gum, leaving the child more upset. Of course, it is whatever works best for you and your child. If you try flossing your child’s teeth while they are laying down at the end of a couch or standing in front of you facing forward with their head resting back on you, you can get a much better visual and floss easier. It all takes practice. In between, or flossing cavities are the most common among children since they tend to snack a lot and not floss as often as they should. Your child will need help with brushing and flossing until about the age of 8 years old. They can practice well before that, but following up or assisting is very important. Once your child is able to rinse and spit, a fluoride mouthwash is a great idea. This helps get into those small nooks and crannies. The toothbrush bristles even have a hard time reaching. The fluoride settles into these areas and helps strengthen, preventing cavities. Once a day, use for this is sufficient.

If you ever have questions about your child’s teeth, do not hesitate to call Dental Reflections Dublin for advice or to bring them in for us to take a look! That’s what we are here for.