4 Ways to Keep Your Kids Smiling!

Posted on May 25, 2011

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A national survey recently gave Massachusetts top honors for kids oral health. However, even with great ratings more than one quarter of 2- to 5-year-olds and half of kids 12 to 15 years old have one or more cavities (CDC). Here are some tips to keep your child’s smile healthy and bright.

1. Brush Their Teeth with Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride toughens the tooth enamel, helping to ward off cavities. In younger children, use only a pea size amount. Kids under 2 years old should not use fluoride toothpaste unless instructed to by a dentist or health professional.

2. Provide Healthy Foods and Limit Sweet Snacks and Drinks
What to eat: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Meat, & Beans. As for drinks, Choosing milk or water will help ensure a healthy mouth and body for your child. What to Avoid: Sugars and Starches. This includes cookies, candy and cakes. Snacks that stick to teeth can cause as much tooth decay as candy and cookies. These foods include some cereals, chips, crackers and even dried fruits.

3. Provide Low-Fat Milk and Dairy Products High in Calcium
Even before baby teeth and adult teeth come in, they need calcium. And after teeth come in, they continue to take in calcium so teeth can develop fully. Calcium also leads to healthy gums and jaws.

4. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a dental check-up at least twice a year for most children. If you need help locating a dentist, call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050.

Medline Plus offers great resources to help keep your child’s mouth healthy. Also, don’t forget to check out the BPHC Office of Oral Health’s newsletter and website for notices and events.

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