If cavity prevention for your children is a concern, as it is for most if not all parents, no doubt you will agree: instilling in our children an appreciation for proper oral hygiene and establishing a routine of good dental care can be a challenge, and that much more so now that kids are back in school. Even if we were to diligently send our kids off each day with floss, a toothbrush and paste, realistically chances are that they would go unused. What then, are some practical steps that we can take to care for our children’s teeth even when they are at school?
At one time it was believed that tooth decay was caused primarily or entirely by sugar consumption, but we now know that there are many other factors involved. Just as important as teaching your children to take care of their teeth with good oral hygiene is ensuring that they are eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones. Packing their lunchboxes with fibre-rich, raw foods is not only good for their body in general, but these foods also act to massage the gums and clean the teeth during ingestion. Raw foods also increase salivation, which neutralizes acids and alkalis within the mouth. Finishing a meal with some form of raw food will also help to clean the teeth and gums due to its high water content.
Some of the foods that may contribute to cavity prevention are:
- Apples, pears, celery, carrots, cauliflower and cucumbers produce saliva which combines with the foods’ natural fibers to naturally clean teeth and remove bacteria.
- Milk and yogurt are good for teeth because they are low in acidity, which means that wearing of teeth is less. They are also low in decay-inducing sugar. Milk is also a good source of calcium, the main component of teeth and bones.
- Cheese contains calcium and phosphate, which helps balance pH in the mouth, preserves and rebuilds tooth enamel, produces saliva, and kills bacteria that cause cavities and disease.
On the flip side, some items to avoid when your children are unable to brush after eating are:
- Acids contained in fruit juice and soft drinks lower the pH level of the oral cavity which causes the enamel to demineralize. Drinking drinks such as orange juice or cola throughout the day raises the risk of dental cavities tremendously.
- Fruit leather, fruit roll-ups or other sticky foods are to be avoided, as they get stuck in the gaps between teeth and cause decay.
- Refined food products such as white flour are potentially harmful for teeth. Whole-grain products are easier on your teeth and also contain B vitamins and iron, which help keep gums healthy.
- Keep in mind that each time your child eats a sugary snack, their teeth are basically under seige for the next 20 minutes.
While it is impossible to control everything our children put into their mouths, with good planning we can ensure that their school lunches contribute to cavity prevention and good oral health.
For more information about our dentists and services for your children, please contact North Burnaby Dental Group.