Many don’t realize how connected oral health is to overall health. Early dental care prevents dental diseases. It is the first line of defense against many common dental issues, such as plaque, gum disease and cavities.
Once children start school parents have less influence over their meals and snacks during the day. Set an example for your children by eating a variety of healthy foods yourself, and by following a consistent oral health care routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing.
Encouraging children to care for their teeth can be an uphill battle. However, it is the parents’ responsibility to encourage better dental care to their children. Obviously, tooth-friendly foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts are better for teeth than cookies, candy and chips. If you want to improve your children’s eating habits, consider tips to make the process more enjoyable for them:
- Involve your child in buying and/or preparing healthy food for the table.
- Have them chop carrots, wash an apple or cut cheese into cubes.
- Have a pre-prepared healthy snack container in the refrigerator for when they are ready to look for a snack.
Here are 10 tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics top help children keep a healthy smile:
- Lead by example. Show them by practicing good oral health yourself.
- Choose a dentist that you and your children will like and trust.
- Take them to the dentist regularly – usually every six months – for routine cleaning and checkups.
- Remind them to brush before they leave for school and before bedtime.
- Encourage them to brush during any travel time.
- Teach the importance of flossing. It may help prevent gum disease.
- Encourage your child to eat breakfast daily. Children who eat a high protein breakfast have a noticeable reduction in cravings for sweets.
- If they are going to drink juices, have them use a straw. Doing so reduces their teeth’s exposure to sugar.
- Reduce sugar in their diet. Replace sugar snacks with healthy snacks such as fruit, carrots, cheese, crackers and water.
- Reward healthy habits. Leave little treats from the “tooth fairy” to reward your child for practicing good oral health.
Poor oral health can profoundly affect a child’s health and well-being. It can cause difficulty in chewing, and may cause them not to eat enough, which would cause them to be lacking in the nutrients required for healthy growth and development.
Your wellness friend, Shirley Golden!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for
educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.