Midday Fix: National Children’s Dental Health Month

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Dr. Mira Albert
911 N. Elm Street


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When it comes to sugary treats and beverages, it’s how often, not how much
Children (or adults for that matter) shouldn’t graze or savor candy and sugary drinks (including, sports drinks and juice). That prolonged exposure to sugar and acid can wreak havoc on teeth. Instead, stick to designated meal and snack times and have them drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Don’t put babies to bed with a bottle
Milk and juice contain sugar. When babies are put to bed with a bottle of milk (or juice), the sugar from the milk coats their teeth the entire time they are sleeping causing tooth decay which is deemed “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.” If a bottle works to soothe a baby before sleep, opt for filling it with water.

Wean children off of their pacifier by age three
It is completely normal for children to sooth themselves with a pacifier, however, it can affect the way a child’s teeth bite together, sometimes causing an overbite. A child’s speech may also be affected and he/she may have orthodontic issues. Talk to your pediatric dentist who can assist in encouraging children to stop a sucking habit and discuss each child’s particular situation.

Avoid topical teething gels and rings
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly warns against using teething gels that contain benzocaine or lidocaine because they can seriously harm your child. Parents and caregivers should stay away from teething rings too, which contain chemicals and low levels of BPA – despite labels citing otherwise - that can be harmful to your child.

Homeopathic teething tablets
The FDA recently warmed consumers that homeopathic teething tablets containing belladonna pose an unnecessary risk to infants and children and urged consumers not to use these products. Instead of teething gels or tablets, the AAPD recommends gently rubbing or massaging the child’s gums with your finger and giving the child a cool washcloth to chew on.