Caring for Children’s Teeth – Part 1: Preventing tooth decay through healthy eating habits

Protecting little teeth is important to your child’s development and wellbeing, and at Whitehorse Dental, we understand that it can be difficult for busy parents to find the right dental care information for children.

We’re here to arm you with the right information to build good daily habits to protect young teeth, rather than waiting until the dreaded dentist visit to fill in a decayed tooth.

In building good dental habits for children, it is important to firstly understand that it is not just ‘what’ your child is eating, but also ‘how frequently’ your child is eating each day that determines the health of their teeth. Most notably, these eating events include snacks and any drinks (with the exception of water).

The reason for this is, that whenever we eat or drink – the environment in our mouth increases in acidity level. This happens as sugars and starches in food mixes with the bacteria in our mouths.

While our saliva is designed to defend teeth against some of this acid, it needs a clear break between meals to recover its protective shields and bring the mouth back to a neutral pH.

The problem of tooth decay arises when kids snack throughout the day, without substantial breaks between meals.

This snacking maintains the mouth in a consistent acid environment, which doesn’t give the saliva or tooth enamel time to recover. Over time, this weakens and wears out the protective enamel layer and causes problems such as tooth decay.

To prevent tooth enamel from eroding, we advise that parents consider their children’s daily eating habits. We encourage that drinks and food be consumed together in meal blocks, 5 times a day, rather than grazing across the day. In between meals, we recommend that kids consume water, rather than flavoured drinks.

Implementing these daily eating habits for little children – and big children too! – is part of our philosophy of preventative dentistry at Whitehorse Dental. Our helpful dentists would rather see kids come into the clinic with happy smiles than be filling in rotten cavities!

Over the next posts on the Whitehorse Dental blog, we will be exploring more ways that busy parents can care for kids teeth.

Image credit: “Smiling Reese” by Donnie Ray Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0.