Dental Care for Kids – Sponsored by Delta Dental of Missouri
Baby teeth matter!
As soon as that first baby tooth comes in, start taking care of it. If baby teeth are not cared for properly, the permanent teeth and gums can be negatively affected.
- Don’t ignore the gums.
- Wipe the gums off after each feeding using a warm, wet wash cloth or purchase a tooth brush specifically for infants.
Avoid cavity-causing habits
What makes a baby or toddler feel better, like falling asleep with a bottle or sippy cup, may cause cavities.
Babies don’t start using toothpaste with fluoride until age 2, but it’s still important they get enough to prevent tooth decay. Most municipalities have added fluoride to their water supply. So, once you’re comfortable, offer your baby good old-fashioned tap water.
5 WAYS TO PACK YOUR KIDS A HEALTHIER LUNCH
1. Say no to applesauce
Cups of applesauce are practical and portable, but the snack is loaded with natural and added sugars that promote cavities. Try a small container of cottage cheese instead. To spice things up, you can toss on some blueberries or sliced strawberries for extra flavor!
2. Choose real fruit
Fruit snacks and fruit leathers are popular among kids, but not their dentists. These sticky snacks can cling to teeth and encourage plaque. Go for the real deal instead. Offer slices of banana, apple and strawberries, or try no-prep options like grapes and mandarin oranges.
3. Plain milk is best
Milk is a great source of calcium, but flavored options, like chocolate or strawberry milk, contain added sugars that can cause decay. Swap out these sweet options with plain milk to cut out unnecessary sugar. To make plain milk more fun, you can try adding a drop of food coloring. If your kids don’t like milk, string cheese is another good dairy option.
4. Skip the starchy snacks
Salty snacks like pretzels, chips and crackers may seem OK for teeth because they’re low in sugar, but don’t be mistaken. Simple starches can be just as bad as sweets, if not worse. These snacks break down into a sticky goo, coating teeth and causing cavities. Looking for some crunchy alternatives? Try sunflower seeds, almonds or baby carrots. Other savory snack ideas include hard-boiled eggs and chunks of cheddar cheese.
5. Choose colorful vegetables
Give your kids an assortment of colorful veggies. Kids are more likely to eat snacks that look appealing, and the different colors feature different vitamins and minerals. Red and orange veggies are usually high in vitamin C (good for gums), while leafy green vegetables are good sources of calcium (for strong teeth). Consider cherry tomatoes, strips of red and orange bell peppers and steamed broccoli with melted cheese. Don’t forget about fun-to-eat snacks like snap peas and edamame.
Visit Delta Dental of Missouri for a guide to free and low cost dental care in Missouri, and more dental education resources for children.
Dental Health: Tooth Decay