Oral health tips for kids
Beverly Hills dentist Dr. Arthur Glosman weighs in with his tips on how to keep your kids' teeth and gums as healthy as possible.
As the proud father of four young daughters, I don’t only preach simple sound dental practices to my patients with children and the children themselves — but I have a lot of preaching to do at home, too.
First, practice the Dr. Glosman 4-Step Approach to Healthy Teeth and Gums:
Brush with a fluoride toothpaste
The new airless pump dispensers for children (and adults) make it easier to get toothpaste out of the container eliminating some frustration — and electric toothbrushes for older children and supervised for younger children makes it easier and more fun to brush. Make brushing your teeth fun! Create a dance or jig that can be done while brushing. If they are like my girls, they just might brush longer and actually look forward to brushing their teeth morning and night!
This is the hard one, but so very important. Flossing is vital as it can eliminate particles between teeth that brushing may miss. These particles can lead to tooth decay and unpleasant breath. Try the smaller individual floss sticks that are easier to handle and that don’t have a pick on the end as the pick can poke the face, particularly a face of a young child.
Use a mouthwash to rinse
This can help expel particles from flossing and brushing. Look for a mouthwash with flavors that are more appealing to children.
Make sure your child is eating nutritiously
- Watch the hidden sugars in foods and beverages — and opt for real fruit instead of fruit juices which are less nutritious and more likely to cause cavities.
- Get your children eating raw, crunchy vegetables when age appropriate. They act as a natural scrubber and cleanser on the teeth.
- Non-processed cheese is also great for helping to clean teeth — particularly after a meal at a restaurant where stain and cavity-inducing foods have been eaten.
- Yogurt and milk are great sources of calcium to build strong teeth. Just make sure the yogurt does not have any hidden sugars — look for any ingredients on the label ending in ‘ose’ such as glucose, fructose, sucrose or corn syrups. Not only are these sugars linked to cavities but they are totally useless calories. And I prefer to feed my girls Greek yogurt (with real fruit mixed in) as Greek yogurt has more protein and tends to be creamy thus more palatable to finicky young taste buds.
Don’t forget to see the dentist for regular check-ups! There are some great children’s books out there that can help take the mystery out of visiting the dentist and teach kids how to develop good, sound dental habits. For more information please visit arthurglosmandds.com.