Healthy teeth are essential for children's oral and overall well-being. As a parent, you can take specific measures to ensure that your child's teeth erupt and develop well for optimal oral health, functionality, and beautiful smiles.
This article highlights important tips for caring for your child's mouth, including choosing the right toothpaste and toothbrush, encouraging a healthy diet, and limiting foods and beverages that are harmful to their teeth.
Choosing Toothbrush and Toothpaste for Your Child
There are hundreds of toothbrushes and toothpaste brands in the market. However, not all of them are safe for you or your child. For instance, some toothbrushes are hard-bristled, while some toothpaste contains abrasive ingredients which can erode your child's teeth and hurt your gums, increasing their risk of oral problems like tooth decay, sensitivity, gum recession, and gum disease.
Below are practical tips for choosing the right toothpaste and toothbrush for your kid:
- Choosing the right toothbrush. When selecting a toothbrush for your child, go for a small-headed and soft-bristled brush. The small head allows for better access and maneuverability to all areas of the mouth. The soft bristles are gentle on gums and teeth, allowing for effective brushing. Choosing a colored or fun-designed brush can encourage and make brushing more enjoyable for your kid.
- Choosing the right toothpaste. Dental experts recommend no more than a rice grain-sized toothpaste for children below three years old. Children between three and six years should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Opt for toothpaste specifically designed for children. Fluoride toothpaste is essential for strong and healthy teeth.
- Proper Brushing Techniques. Show your child how to brush correctly from an early age. Show them to use gentle, circular motions to brush all the surfaces of the teeth. Encourage them to brush at least twice daily for at least two minutes. You can also teach them how to floss.
Visit our pediatric dentist in South Austin, TX, if your child has untreated dental problems.
Encouraging a Healthy Diet: Foods That Benefit Oral Health
Certain foods and beverages can help or hurt your child's oral health. Below are several types of foods that you can incorporate into your child's diet for optimal oral and overall health:
- Calcium. Teeth enamel is made up of more than 95% minerals. Calcium-rich foods can help remineralize your child's enamel for stronger and healthier teeth. Common calcium-rich foods include leafy greens, fish, and dairy products like cheese and milk. Visit our dentist office near me if your child's teeth are eroded.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables. Incorporating healthy fruits and vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, apples, carrots, and celery contains essential nutrients that promote healthy gums and teeth. Crunchy fruits and vegetables can wash away plaque and promote saliva production, helping prevent bacterial deposits.
- Water. Proper hydration is essential to keep the mouth moist and wash away bacteria, acids, and debris from the mouth. This reduces the risk of tooth decay, oral thrush, gum disease, and other complications.
- Protein-rich foods. Proteins are essential in growing and repairing body tissues like the gums. It also helps break down food particles and neutralize harmful acids. Protein sources include eggs, fish, legumes, dairy products, and meat.
- Whole grains. Whole grains offer a variety of benefits for optimal oral and overall health. Whole grains are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins that promote saliva production and the development of healthy teeth, gums, and jawbones. Whole grain products include bread, oatmeal, bran cereals, and brown rice.
- Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds like almonds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are packed with proteins, vitamins, healthy fats, and minerals essential for healthy teeth, gums, and jawbone.
Limiting Sugary and Acidic Foods and Beverages
While some acidic and sugary foods and beverages can contain healthy nutrients, they can negatively impact your child's oral health. Since some of these items can't be avoided altogether, limiting their consumption is essential.
For instance, our mouths contain harmful bacteria that feed on the sugars we eat. Giving your child sugary items like candy, sweets, desserts, fruit juices, and soda feeds these bacteria, encouraging bacterial plaque and tartar buildup in the mouth. It increases your risk of oral infections like gum disease, decay, tooth sensitivity, and loss.
Similarly, highly acidic foods and beverages like tomatoes, sports drinks, soda, and citrus fruits can erode the minerals on your tooth's enamel over time, leading to sensitivity, decay, and tooth loss. After eating or drinking acidic items, let your child wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
Visit our office for Pediatric Dental Care.
Do you need additional tips for caring for your child's mouth and overall well-being? Contact Peak Dental - South Austin to book an appointment with our South Austin dentist.