We just took the kids to a pediatric dentist in University of Toronto and found out that we are going to be charged thousands of dollars for the dental treatment Kyle and Lex are undergoing. Thanks for the insurance because we cannot afford the costs. I know we all love chocolates and candies but Kyle had traumatic experience in a dental chair before and Lex had so much caries from drinking from the bottle while sleeping when he was a baby. They will undergo treatment while sleeping.
If I had known we will go through this, I could have not offered them desserts, baked too many cakes and cookies and stopped giving them candies. I learned my lesson and this blogpost is timely. I'm now sharing tips on how to prevent dental caries for children (and sweet tooth like me):
If you can, do not buy or give your children sweets. They can have these from other places, parties or as treats from relatives but not from your own home.
1. Chocolates or anything with chocolates- chocolate covered biscuits and nuts.
2. Fruits are healthier option but there are fruits that are also high in sugar. Dried fruits are better options but stay away from sticky ones. They can get easily stuck in the grooves of teeth, potentially causing cavities. It's best to treat dried fruits as candies and provide them accordingly.
3. Sticky candies, such as toffees, caramels and fruit chews are especially hard on teeth. Sticky candy can stick on the grooves of teeth as well as fillings and dental work, and can be difficult to brush away. Hard candies, candy canes, lollipops are loaded with sugar and sucking on these can coat teeth with sugar.
4. If possible, replace sticky and hard candies with fresh fruit, nuts, pretzels, ice cream because it is easier to remove these foods when brushing.
5. Cookies, baked goods and sugary drinks should not be part of a child's diet. If these cannot be avoided, try to ensure they are eaten with or after a meal. This way, your child may not be as hungry and he or she may be less likely to eat a lot of sweets. Also, saliva production is better with a meal resulting in better protection from cavity causing bacteria.
6. Teeth need fluoride to stay strong and fight decay. Use fluoride toothpaste and drink fluoridated water. Bottled water does not contain fluoride so if your child drinks bottled water, tell your dentist so he can prescribe fluoride supplements.
7. Baby teeth affect permanent teeth. They save space for adult teeth to grow in straight. Losing them early due to decay can cause pain and crooked teeth.
8. You should floss for your child everyday. Flossing removes plaque brushing may miss. Your child should be ready to floss alone when he reaches age 8.
9. A plaque attack happens every time your child eats or drinks. Each attack last 20 minutes and can cause tooth decay. The only beverage that doesn't cause a plaque reaction is water so let your child drink water frequently to spare vent "sweet cravings".
10. Brush teeth every after meal and every after eating sweets.
Share these tips so we can all have pearly white and healthy teeth specially our kids.