According to recent studies by the Academy of General Dentistry, dietary habits of patients are indicators of what kind of dental health patients will typically have. This is particularly evident in school children who have seen a tenfold increase in sugar consumption over the last few decades. Here is some additional information about diet and oral health.
Studies Show That Kids Are The Most Vulnerable To Poor Oral Health
Researchers tracked dietary habits and monitored the teeth of children before and after the start of school for a 15-month period. Results showed that decayed, cavities levels jumped from just under ten percent at age five to nearly twenty percent by at age six. This means that children were experiencing a significant increase in cavities within one year. Over the length of the study, the number of schoolchildren without cavities dropped from 23 to 19 percent.
Why Are Kids More Prone To Cavities?
Part of the reason that kids are prone to cavities is that they tend to eat higher amounts of sugar. This can often be caused by selections available for your child’s breakfast and lunch. School meals can be especially tough to monitor since parents cannot easily monitor their children’s diet while they are at school.
How Can Parents Help Prevent Poor Oral Health in Children?
The easiest way parents you can help your child prevent cavities is to monitor their eating habits. This means packing a lunch, providing snacks, and following up with your child to make sure they are healthy health foods. Parents should also try to offer children healthy snack alternatives when they get home, like bite-size carrots, celery, or other foods that are naturally sweet. Instructing children to avoid candy and other foods that contain refined sugar is also critical.
Sticky or chewy foods can also linger on teeth throughout the day. If children do happen to eat these foods at lunch, they should brush and rinse with water or eat a piece of fruit to help clean teeth surfaces and gums. Also, parents should find out what their child’s school lunch program offers. If programs do not offer healthy alternatives, talk to the school about incorporating healthy lunches or snacks.
Can Apples Really Help?
One of the reasons that apples are such a great teeth friendly food is that they are free from refined sugars, low in acids, and crunchy. The crisp bite that they offer naturally scrapes the tooth surface to keep it free from plaque and other food particles. Apples are also good sources of fiber, vitamins, and healthy carbohydrates.
Are Sealants The Answer?
Often, parents feel like there is nothing they can do to prevent cavities in their children. This is not the case and there are options. One tip that parents should consider is professionally-applied sealants to protect children’s teeth from cavities. Sealants are a thin layer of bonding material that is applied over a tooth. The layer dries and acts as a barrier to cavity-causing bacteria. Sealants can be applied on as soon as your child’s first permanent molars grow in.
Kids Are Not The Only Ones Vulnerable To Dental Decay
Parents may think that their kids are the only ones that are at risk for tooth decay related to diet. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Adults are also experiencing greater numbers of cavities because of a diet that is heavy in sugar and carbohydrates. A large portion of adults also fail to practice good oral hygiene or see a dentist every six months as recommended. Be a good example for your children and get in to see your dentist!
Tips To Keep Cavities At Bay
- Brush and floss after every meal.
- Avoid sugar-filled coffee drinks, juices, sports drinks and soft drinks.
- Try to drink water, tea, or sugar-free beverages if you must consume liquids.
- Chew sugar-free gum after meals to keep your teeth clean and plaque free.
- See your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Come To Dentistry Of Nashville Today!
If you live in the Nashville, TN area and beyond, Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming may be able to help you get a healthy and beautiful smile in just a few short office visits. There is no time like the present to get a healthy and happy smile with Dentistry of Nashville. So contact us today for a no obligation consultation and get started on the smile of your dreams.