Protecting Your Child's Teeth

As a parent, you may be concerned about the health of your little one's teeth. As soon as your youngster's first little tooth breaks through the gums, the child becomes susceptible to tooth decay. Even if a child is not old enough to consume solid foods, their teeth can still develop cavities.

The teeth start to decay or become demineralized when they are exposed to oral acids. Most oral acids are produced by the bacteria of the mouth as byproducts of the microbial digestive process. 

As bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, feed on lactose, fructose, sucrose, and other simple carbohydrates, they metabolize the sugars and excrete the byproducts, which include acids. The acids corrode the enamel, dissolving the minerals that comprise it. This demineralization causes holes or cavities to form.

Still, there are things that you can do to help your child's tooth enamel remain intact. Here are some of those actions:

Rid Your Home of Candy

A great source of simple sugars in a child's diet is candy. However, it is difficult for a child to access candy that is not readily available. 

Instead of candy, consider stocking your home with sugarless alternatives that can still satisfy a sweet tooth, such as gum. Gum that is sugar-free has a sweet taste but does not cause tooth decay.

In fact, sugarless gum offers multiple oral health benefits. The chewy substance cleans the teeth by pulling plaque and debris from the surface of the enamel. Additionally, sugarless gum may contain antimicrobial ingredients, such as cinnamon or xylitol, to reduce the bacterial population in the mouth.

Steer Clear of Sodas

Sodas, including those that contain no sugar, are acidic. Just as bacterial acids corrode the enamel. acids from sodas and other carbonated beverages also demineralize the teeth. 

Still, natural substances, such as fruit juice, may not be good alternatives to soda. Fruit juice contains both natural sugars and acids. Thus, it is best to offer your child water instead. Once a child becomes accustomed to living without flavored drinks, they are more likely to only view them as treats.

The regular consumption of fluoridated water can help protect your child's teeth by rinsing away bacteria and food particles, diluting oral acids, and remineralizing the teeth. If you choose bottled water for your family, check the manufacturer's information to ensure that the product contains fluoride.

To learn more ways to protect your child's teeth, schedule a consultation with a dental clinic like Lake Pleasant Dentistry in your local area.