November 6, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter
Dental caries is the most common chronic disease of children aged from 6 to 11 years old and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years old. The prevalence is highest at 50% of children between the ages of 6 and 9. Fortunately this condition is easily preventable and can be treated. Follow the guidelines below and you’ll help prevent dental caries or as many know them, cavities, in your children!
1. Check to see if your water is fluoridated
Fluoride helps protect teeth from dental caries and is not found in sufficient amounts in food. Water fluoridation is the major source of fluoride in the US. If your water supply comes from well water, then your water supply is not likely fluoridated. Home water treatments may also remove fluoride from the water. Filters such as Brita are okay. You can have your water tested to see how much fluoride is present. Your doctor may prescribe a fluoride supplement if needed.
2. Limit sugary snacks
Sugar resinates on the teeth causing decay. High consumption of sugary foods is one of the biggest causes of dental caries in children. Stay away from sticky and gummy foods such as candy along with cookies and other desserts. Snacks such as chips and crackers also have sugar and can elevate risk if consumed regularly.
3. Limit juice intake
Juice also has a high sugar content. When children sip on juices, especially when in bottles or sippy cups, the potential for tooth decay increases. Stay away from giving a child a bottle right before bed or when they are going to sleep. Water not only has less sugar but also typically has more fluoride to help prevent dental caries. Try cutting back to giving juice only during meals and water throughout the day.
4. Make regular dentist appointments
Often, dentists will provide a fluoride treatment at every dentist visit for your children. Check to make sure your dental insurance may cover this.
5. Keep up with brushing
This helps keep teeth clean and free from the residue after eating.
6. Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, lean
protein and low-fat dairy products
Yes, it’s true. A well balanced nutritional diet also helps protect and enhance the health of your teeth. Calcium-rich foods help strengthen them. While phosphorus and vitamin C rich foods also promote good oral health. For meals and especially snacks, try to offer these foods. Peanut butter sandwiches with whole wheat bread, nuts, raw veggies and fresh fruit can be great options.
7. Too much fluoride can cause toxicity
While it is essential for children to have enough in order to prevent tooth decay, too much can be detrimental. Fluoride toxicity can affect bone growth and development in children and cause dark plaque on teeth. For these reasons you do not want to go overboard. However, this would be hard to do since foods are not a significant source. The key is to simply make sure your water and toothpaste are adequate sources.
Sources: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442476310, http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/oral-health/Pages/Preventing-Tooth-Decay-in-Children.aspx, http://www.kidsoralhealth.org/?page=pcp-guidance-foods, http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/dental_caries.htm