Did you know?
More cavities are caused by uncontrolled drinking of fruit juice and milk than by soda pop? It’s true. Anything that has food value can cause cavities – it doesn’t matter if it’s good for you or not. That’s because it isn’t what you’re eating, but how long it’s in your mouth that causes decay.
Of course we should all make healthy food choices, but for strong, healthy teeth control your child’s exposure time to foods. We recommend that after a child’s first birthday, the only between meal beverage is water.
The 20/10 Plan for Healthy Teeth
Have a specific start and stop time for all meals and snacks. We recommend 20 minutes for meals and three 10-minute snacks throughout the day. This will limit the exposure time to food in your child’s mouth which causes decay. Between meals, fill your toddler’s sippy cup with water instead of juice or sports drinks to stop bacteria growth and help prevent cavities.
Plaque is a sticky, glue-like substance that grows where the teeth meet your gums and in the deep-grooved chewing surfaces. Unfortunately, plaque is water-resistant so it won’t rinse away. You have to brush it off. And it only takes 24 hours for plaque to become decay-producing, so brushing is necessary at least once a day.
Help your kids brush their teeth 2min2x – that’s 2 minutes each time, twice a day – for healthier teeth, good breath, fewer cavities, and to avoid painful dental problems. The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives recommends that you help or watch over your kids’ brushing until they’re 8. Once your child’s teeth start to come into the mouth, brush using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.
Kids should use a soft toothbrush. The size and shape of the brush should allow them to reach all areas of their mouth. Replace toothbrushes every three to four months, sooner if the bristles are worn out or if your children have been sick.
To help keep track of your child’s brushing routine, give rewards for jobs well done. Click here to download the Toothbrush Checklist.