At Mooroolbark Family Dental our dentists love treating children, from babies to teenagers. We believe that an excellent standard in Children’s dentistry involves spending time with your children to get them used to a dental environment and educate them on the importance of oral hygiene.
We understand that visiting the dentist can be an anxious time for children so we have created an environment that makes the experience comfortable and pleasant. We ensure that Children’s dentistry is a relaxing experience for both the child and the parents.
It’s important to make going to the dentist as natural and stress free as going to the hairdresser, initially visits to both may seem a little out of their comfort zone but once the habit has been established, practicing good oral habits will become second nature to your children.
Our dentists are also available on Saturdays, particularly for children’s dentistry, so there is no need for your children to miss school for their appointment!
At Mooroolbark Family Dental we believe that preventative care is key, below we have compiled a list of the things you need to do to keep your child’s mouth healthy.
How to Prevent Cavities
Diets that are high in sugar are associated with higher rates of cavities. To prevent cavities, our dentists at Mooroolbark Family Dental recommend closely monitoring the following:
- Brush with fluoride-containing toothpastes. The best way to prevent tooth decay is to use fluoride-containing toothpaste every day. Current recommendations are to use fluoride toothpaste for all ages but use a very small amount for younger children. The fluoride seeps inside the tooth to reverse early decay. Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day and after each meal or snack if possible. If brushing between meals is not possible, at least rinse the mouth with water several times.
- Floss your child’s teeth daily. Floss your child’s teeth at least once a day to help remove particles between teeth and below the gum line.
- Rinse with fluoride mouthwash. A fluoride mouthwash can help prevent tooth decay. Use only after 6 years old.
- Brush your child’s teeth after giving him or her medicine. Medicines such as cough syrups contain sugar that bacteria in the mouth use to make acids. These acids can eat away at the enamel — the protective top layer of the tooth.
- Ensure your child drinks only water between meals. If your child drinks from a sippy cup between meals, only give them water. Juice and even milk are high in sugar and will unnecessarily expose your child’s teeth to too much sugar.
- Give your child milk or juice at mealtime only. The food helps to wash away the extra sugar found in these beverages. In general, a child should have no more than 4 ounces of juice per day. Fruit juice has more sugar than you’d think, and the sugar is much more concentrated than eating a piece of raw fruit.
- Get your children in the habit of eating as few snacks as possible. The frequency of snacking is far more important than the quantity consumed. Time between meals allows saliva to wash away food particles that bacteria would otherwise feast on. Frequent snacking, without brushing immediately afterwards, provides constant fuel to feed bacteria, which leads to plaque development and tooth decay. Try to limit snacks as much as possible and to no more than one or two a day. Brush teeth immediately after consuming the snack if possible.
- Treats are fine in moderation, but it’s best to choose the lesser of two evils. We recommend chocolate because it melts away from the teeth while candies such as caramel, sour gummies, and chewy candies are sticky and the sugars will stick around the mouth for longer periods of time. We also like to recommend sugar free or fruit popsicles over popsicles that are purely sugar.
- Fruits and vegetables: Offer fruits and vegetables as a snack instead of carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables that contain a high volume of water, such as pears, melons, celery, and cucumbers are best. Limit banana and raisin consumption as these contain concentrated sugar or if you serve these fruits, try to brush your child’s teeth immediately after they are eaten.
- Cheese: Serve cheese with lunch or as a snack, especially cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and other aged cheeses which help to trigger the flow of saliva. Saliva helps to wash food particles away from teeth.
- Avoid sticky, chewy foods: Raisins, dried figs, granola bars, oatmeal or peanut butter cookies, jelly beans, caramel, honey, molasses, and syrup stick to teeth making it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away. If your child consumes these types of products, have them brush their teeth immediately after eating.
- Serve sugary treats with meals, not as snacks. If you plan to give your child any sweets, give them as desserts immediately following the meal. There’s usually an increased amount of saliva in the mouth around mealtime, making it easier to wash food away from teeth. The mealtime beverage also helps to wash away food particles on teeth.
- Avoid sugary foods that linger on the teeth. Lollipops, hard candies, cough drops, and mints all contribute to tooth decay because they continuously coat the teeth with sugar.
- Buy foods that are sugar-free or unsweetened.
- Never put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with milk, formula, juice, or soda.
- Offer your child plain water instead of juice or soda. Juices, sodas, and even milk contain sugar. Water does not harm the teeth and aids in washing away any food particles that may be clinging to teeth.
- Include good sources of calcium in your child’s diet to build strong teeth. Good sources include milk, broccoli, and yogurt.
- Visit the dentist regularly. It is generally recommended that you take your child to the dentist starting at age 1 or within 6 months of the first tooth breaking through the gums. Getting regular dental check ups will also help catch any developing dental problems early.
Overall, healthy eating habits not only prevent cavities but they also promote a healthy weight and lifestyle, setting your child up for a healthier childhood! If you have questions about your child’s diet and how sugar affects baby teeth, ask our dentists at Mooroolbark Family Dental today on (03) 9726 7955
We’ll be happy to discuss what causes cavities and give additional tips for preventing tooth decay in your little one’s mouth!
We welcome all patients from Ringwood, Croydon, Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs.