It Takes More Than Luck to Avoid Cavities and Tooth Decay in Young Children - First Things First
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First Things First Cochise Region Reminds Parents to Schedule Routine Dental Exams and Make Healthy Dietary Choices for Their Little Leprechauns This Month

The luck of the Irish will only get your children so far when it comes to dental care this month. It takes a steady routine, healthy habits and regular dental visits to keep those pearly whites shining brightly all year long.

Many parents are unaware that their little ones should see a dentist when the first baby tooth appears or by their first birthday. Unfortunately, most caregivers wait for their children to start school or until they’re faced with a dental problem before scheduling their first routine check-up. However, making children comfortable with seeing a dentist from an early age will set them up with good oral hygiene habits for the rest of their lives.

Another key factor in the overall health and appearance of children’s teeth is linked closely to what they eat and drink. Their foods, drinks and snacks make a noticeable difference in their oral health. Soon, warmer days will mean kids will want sweet, cold treats. Unfortunately, as tempting as these cool indulgences may seem, they tend to be filled with sugar, which can rot teeth and lead to other health problems in the future. As an alternative, consider chilling fruit, like strawberries and watermelon to put a smile on your child’s face while still offering them something sweet, cold and tasty.

Nevertheless, there will be times when an ice cream cone, slushy, or popsicle is enjoyed. Just remember to brush your child’s teeth as soon as possible afterward, since harmful sugars can latch onto their teeth and gums. If their little teeth are not brushed right away, that sugar will breed bacteria and eat away at tooth enamel. Over time, situations like this can cause cavities to develop quickly; and a simple cavity left untouched can lead to much more serious, painful complications down the road.

Another common solution for hot, sunny days is cold juice, lemonade and sports drinks. When consumed in moderation, these beverages typically aren’t too harmful to children’s teeth. (Especially if they’re brushing regularly.) But if they’re being chosen in place of water multiple times throughout the day, then teeth are being regularly subjected to sugar. Much like frozen treats or candy, if the sugar from these sweet drinks isn’t being brushed away in a timely manner, bacteria from the sugar can cause cavities. It’s worth noting that popular sports drinks parents often give children have nine teaspoons of sugar in each 20-ounce bottle. Water is the best option to offer thirsty children.

Again, a proper oral health routine should include a mouth-healthy diet for the best results. Try offering your child more leafy green vegetables and healthy proteins like nuts and unsweetened yogurt. Also, encourage them to drink more water in order to keep their teeth clean and help combat cavities. Remember, it does take more than luck to prevent cavities and tooth decay. To learn more about the best ways to care for your children’s teeth and gums, visit