“Don’t put that in your mouth, it’s dirty!” If you are a parent, you’ve likely called out those words in reference to some filthy object your child found on the ground and decided to taste-test.
Controlling what your child samples is indeed important, yet what you choose to offer as a snack is also critical. Unfortunately, the hectic lifestyles of families today result in many parents providing their children with food and drink choices based more on availability and minimal prep-time than on health and nutrition.
The Prevalence of Dental Decay[divider]
Granted, most children won’t complain if the foods and beverages supplied them are classified as “junk” or “fast” food. In fact, they will likely applaud your choices and ask for more. Parents do well to remember however, that what their kids eat and drink on a daily basis directly impacts their oral health and quite likely their quality of life.
One of the main ingredients children are all too eager to consume is sugar. A steady intake of sugary drinks and foods can, unfortunately, have quite a harmful effect on their teeth and gums. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that tooth decay (dental caries) impact children in the United States more than any other chronic infectious disease.
The Far Reaching Effects of Tooth Decay[divider]
Particularly if left untreated, tooth decay can introduce a number of negative effects that will influence your child’s welfare and happiness. Some of these include:
- Intense pain and infection that can spread to other parts of the body.
- Premature loss of baby teeth, hindering the child’s ability to chew and digest foods adequately.
- Shifting of remaining baby teeth, resulting in placement problems as adult teeth later emerge.
- Increased number of missed school days due to illness.
- Sleep deprivation, hindered social development, and possibly lowered self-esteem.
- Higher overall health care costs.
Take Preventative Action[divider]
The good news is that tooth decay and other oral diseases that can affect children are avoidable. What steps can you take to protect your child’s smile and promote a healthy body?
- Education—Teach them how to brush and floss properly. Take the time to instruct them on the functions of teeth, as well as the importance of keeping them healthy and cavity free.
- Healthy Choices—Limit how often you offer your children foods and beverages high in sugar, especially when snacking throughout the day. Offer healthy alternatives that include drinking water.
- Set the Example—Schedule regular dental visits for both you and your children. Take advantage of options such as dental sealants to keep your child’s teeth protected and free of unwanted decay.
We know that your children’s dental health matters to you. Please contact us today, and let your child see our pediatric dentist in Durham, NC! We can take care of those things you actually want to keep in your child’s mouth — their teeth.
Now it’s your turn; do you think most parents make regular dental visits with their children?