Tooth enamel, the hard surface layer of teeth, protects your child’s teeth against tooth decay. It is considered to be the hardest mineral substance in the body — it's even stronger than our bones! However, despite its strength, without proper care, your children might be putting the enamel on their teeth at risk. For example, sugary and acidic foods can soften the surface of teeth, which allows bacteria to weaken and eventually destroy tooth enamel.
Tooth enamel does not naturally regenerate, so once it’s gone, it's gone. That's why it is so important to keep your kid’s tooth enamel strong. But how do you do that? We've got five ways you can help protect your children's tooth enamel.
Get the Right Toothbrush
One of the most common mistakes many people make when it comes to choosing a toothbrush is thinking that the harder the bristles are, the better the toothbrush will clean. However, the best choice is actually a soft bristled toothbrush, especially for children because they tend to brush more forcefully than they need to. Hard bristles can wear down enamel as well as irritate gum tissue, so for the best dental hygiene, toss out the old toothbrushes and replace them with new, soft-bristled ones.
Limit the Starch
Kids are going to be kids, which mean they are going to snack on starchy foods, such as potato chips and French fries. These types of foods aren’t well known for being bad for your teeth, but the starch quickly turns to sugar, which feeds the bacteria in the mouth and can ultimately lead to tooth erosion. So limit the starchy snacks and, when they do have a starchy snack, encourage the kids to rinse their mouth with water as soon as they are done snacking.
Avoid Sugary and Acidic Drinks
It's fine to drink fruit juices, lemonade and soda in moderation, but excessive consumption of these beverages can increase the risk of damage to the enamel. To reduce the risk of enamel loss, avoid allowing kids to drink more than one glass of fruit juice per day and encourage them to drink water afterward, which helps to rinse their mouth and remove bacteria.
Don't Use Whitening Toothpaste
Children should not use whitening toothpaste because they contain harsh abrasives that can quickly damage the enamel. It is best to choose toothpaste that is made specifically for children. A children’s toothpaste typically contains fluoride and they usually have kid-friendly flavors which will encourage better brushing.
Brush and Floss Regularly
One of the best defensive actions you can take to protect your children’s tooth enamel and to promote good oral health is to encourage regular brushing and flossing. Dentists typically recommend brushing at least twice each day and flossing at least once each day. It is also essential that the kids see a pediatric dentist regularly. If they do have cavities, the sooner the damage is caught, the easier it is to repair. Regular visits to the dentist are also a great way to stay on top of their oral health needs and concerns.
To learn more information about how to protect the enamel on your children’s teeth, contact Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. We'd be happy to answer your questions and get your little one scheduled for an exam/cleaning!