Three Healthy Habits for Kids’ Teeth
Keeping your children’s teeth strong and healthy is easy, if you are taking the right steps to prevent cavities. Jenna Schulten, DMD and owner of Dupont Pediatric Dentistry, shares three ways for ensuring that you don’t increase your child’s chances of developing cavities and other dental health problems in the future.
- Start good dental hygiene habits early. “As soon as your child starts getting teeth, you need to brush them — especially at night.”
- Use fluoridated toothpaste. “You don’t need to use a lot of toothpaste. Children between the ages of 1 and 2 need a rice sized amount of toothpaste and children between the ages of 2 and 5 only need a pea sized amount. Some parents are very hesitant about doing this, because they say the child can’t spit. But we are not going for bubbles. We just want [the toothpaste] to touch the teeth.”
- Be picky about what your child eats and drinks. “Hygiene is only 50 percent of it. You have to manage your child’s diet.” Jenna says the acidity level inside our mouths must stay neutral for teeth to remain healthy. And while drinking milk is fine, Jenna says parents should not allow their children to sip on it all day — especially chocolate milk because it contains added sugars. “We don’t want kids to snack or graze all day, because food will stick to the teeth, which lowers the pH in the oral cavity. The same would apply to drinking any liquid with added sugar.