We do more than clean and polish your child’s teeth when he or she visits Bay Area Kids Dentist. Although that is extremely important, parent education is equally so. At the conclusion of each dental cleaning, our dentists take the time to let parents know the results of the exam. This may include ongoing evaluation of potential problem areas as well as how their child’s oral health looks overall. We also include instruction on proper brushing and flossing techniques tailored to your child’s age and abilities.
Because the foods children eat play such a large role in the health of their teeth, we also include dietary counselling as part of the routine oral health exam. When you complete the initial intake forms, we ask you to list the typical foods your child eats in a day. The goal is not to judge you as a parent, but rather to offer suggestions on healthy foods for kids that also contribute to good oral health. We encourage parents to offer fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and meat each day and to limit sugary snacks as much as possible.
Our dentists also understand that children don’t always want to eat what is best for them and that some kids are naturally fussy eaters. We just ask that you do the best you can by offering healthy alternatives. While there’s nothing wrong with a daily snack, monitoring your child to ensure that he or she is not constantly snacking is important. It’s also essential to model healthy eating habits yourself.
Almost every snack, including fruit, includes a large amount of sugar. When your child eats a sugary snack, the sugar remnants attract bacteria. Constant exposure to sugar in the mouth eventually leads to the bacteria attacking the tooth enamel. This in turn causes tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay can further lead to gum disease and loss of teeth, even in children. The name of this condition is childhood periodontal disease. The best way to prevent it is to limit your child’s access to snacks with high sugar content in addition to coming in for a routine dental cleaning every six months.
If your child asks for a snack, offer items such as yogurt, carrot sticks, and cottage cheese. Children who are not used to this may balk at first but will eventually adjust. The best way to ensure healthy eating habits and oral health is to offer healthy alternatives early in your child’s life. He or she may still get junk food elsewhere, but it will not be as inviting having grown up eating healthy meals and snacks.
Your child won’t necessarily appreciate your attempts to improve his or her diet but know that you are doing it out of love. Please contact us if you have special concerns you would like to discuss before the next appointment.