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.