In recognition of National Children's Dental Health Month we’ve asked Rose Straebel, RDH, our very own tooth fairy, to provide helpful dental tips for you and your little one. Rose has practiced dental hygiene for 22 years and believes a healthy body starts with a healthy mouth.
Improve your dental health with a Tip a Day!
1. Eating crunchy foods like celery sticks and apples help naturally clean your teeth. Moms and toddlers, crunch away!
2. Make today a no sip day. Sipping fruit juice, milk or soda pop throughout the day exposes your teeth to a constant supply of sugar and increases the chance of cavities.
3. Declare today a soda-free day. One serving of soda contains up to 11 teaspoons of sugar. Soda is a major cause of dental decay.
4. Cold foods like applesauce and yogurt are great for relieving teething pain. Keep these on hand during teething months.
5. Milk, fruit juice and formula all breakdown into sugars while still in your little one’s mouth. Limit these drinks to mealtime only. Fill bottles or sippy cups with water for between meal drinks.
6. Is it time to start flossing your child’s teeth? If you see that two teeth are touching it is time to start flossing.
7. Replace your little one’s toothbrush every four months. Older, damaged toothbrush bristles can build up bacteria and irritate the gums. Be sure to buy soft bristle toothbrushes only!
8. Dried fruit is a healthy snack but will stick to the grooves in teeth and can expose the tooth to acids for long periods of time. Limit eating sticky foods between meals.
9. Dental care for your baby starts before teeth even start to erupt. Use a wet soft washcloth or gauze pad to wipe away food and bacteria after every feeding.
10. Have you scheduled your baby’s first dental visit? The American Dental Association recommends a “well baby dental checkup” between the ages of 6 months to one year.
11. Research has shown that moms pass bacteria that cause cavities to their children (i.e sharing a cup or spoon). Keeping your own mouth healthy can help keep your baby’s mouth healthy too!
12. Xylitol is a “tooth-friendly” sugar. Using xylitol containing products, such as chewing gum, toothpaste and sweeteners can help rebuild enamel. Research even showed that babies born to mothers who chewed xylitol gum during their pregnancy experienced less decay in baby teeth.
13. Carbohydrates breakdown into sugars in the mouth. Even healthy snacks like crackers, breads and cereals breakdown into sugar while still in the mouth. This is why it is so important to brush frequently!
14. Kids love to snack! Keep tooth-friendly snacks like cheese, raw vegetables and whole wheat crackers around for snack time.
15. Make today a Vitamin C day. Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, which is important for healthy gums. Kiwi, oranges, papaya and mango are all excellent sources for vitamin C.
16. Have your child give you a big smile today. Look for signs of white, filmy buildup on teeth or red swollen gums in the mouth. Either of these signs indicate you need to schedule a dental visit and practice better brushing and flossing with your kids.
17. Disclosing tablets contain a harmless red vegetable dye that sticks to plaque. Use them to help teach your little one proper brushing. You can find them at your local pharmacy or dental office.
18. Egg timers are not just for eggs! Using an egg timer to help your child (and yourself) get in the habit of brushing for two minutes at least two times a day.
19. If you are not able to brush your teeth or your child’s teeth after a meal or snack, rinsing with water will help remove food that may be stuck in the grooves of the teeth or between teeth.
20. Did you know the acids from sugary snacks and drinks will remain in your mouth for up to 30 minutes after eating or drinking? Eat sweets with meals, not in between meals.
21. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when brushing toddler’s teeth. Wait until age two to use fluoridated toothpaste unless your pediatrician recommends earlier.
22. Children learn by example. Set a good example by brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing daily and eating a healthy diet.
23. Make a yummy yogurt smoothie treat for your toddler today. Teeth and bones need calcium to stay healthy.
24. Sharing utensils and cups pass germs, including dental bacteria. Teach your tot that it is not okay to share drinks during time with playmates.
25. Germs love sugar! Make an effort this month to decrease the amount of sugar in your family’s diet for a healthier mouth and body.
26. Fear is a main reason people do not seek needed dental care. Never threaten your children with trips to the dentist if they don’t brush their teeth. Use positive reinforcement to change habits!
27. There is an old wives tale that states “You lose a tooth with every child”. The fact is baby’s developing teeth get calcium and other nutrients from the mother’s diet, not from her teeth.
28. Accidents happen! If your tot knocks his tooth out, rinse the tooth with water and insert it back in the socket or place in a cup of milk and call your dentist immediately.
BONUS TIP #29. Dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent decay in the grooves of teeth. Ask your dentist about applying sealants if your toddler is cavity prone.