If you’re a parent with growing children, you likely hear them exclaim “I’m hungry!” or “I’m thirsty!” on a daily basis. Of course, most children don’t care about how healthy a snack or drink actually is. In fact, children often prefer the taste of junk-food and sugary drinks.
However, what your young ones consume on a daily basis can have a huge impact on their oral health, as well as their overall wellness. Unfortunately, unhealthy snacks are often readily available, and require very little prep-time before serving. More though, should be involved in what you feed your child than just taste or convenience.
Consider four straight-forward steps to take to help protect your child’s smile and promote a healthy body.
1. Educating Your Child—Children are far more likely to do something if they understand why they should do it. Help your children to understand the importance of their teeth, and why they need to be protected. Instill good oral health habits from a young age, teaching them how to brush and floss, as well as why they need to keep up the routine.
2. Controlling Sugar Intake—When your child consumes sugar is an important factor to consider. Each time children consume sugary food choices, their teeth are under attack for several minutes afterwards, weakening their protective tooth enamel over time. Saliva production increases while eating meals, neutralizing acid production and the effect that sugar has on the teeth. Therefore, wait until during mealtime to provide them with sugary drinks or foods, if they’re even offered at all.
3. Offering Healthy Alternatives—Limit the number of times your child’s teeth are exposed to damage by not allowing them to constantly snack on sugar-based products throughout the day. Offering nutritious snack alternatives and using water as the beverage of choice between meals will promote healthier bodies and teeth.
4. Set a Good Example—Children love to copy what they see you as a parent doing, so it’s vital you take the lead in promoting healthy teeth and gums. Eat healthy, allow them to see you brush and floss, and speak positively to them about the benefits of going to the dentist. Show them that your oral health matters by scheduling regular dental visits for both you and your children.
Pass on to your children the gift of happy, healthy smiles by following these four important steps. To help you along the way, we proudly offer hygiene dentistry with the help of Dr. McMillan, a respected dentist near Fairfax, VA, that can provide the education and professional services to meet the dental needs of your entire family. Please contact us today!
What about you? Do you find it difficult to come up with healthy food and beverage choices that your child enjoys?