How do I keep my kids teeth completely cavity-free without insane amounts of effort?
My kids teeth had cavities.
There, I said it. That secret I’ve been holding onto for, well, a really long time (because my kids are all grown up now) is finally out in the open.
Is it such a big deal? Maybe not for most people, when dental technology is so advanced, making treatment of simple cavities a very quick fix. But I’m a dentist’s wife. You’d think I’d know better, and frankly, you’d think I’d have done better too.
But cavities they had and these, despite my best intentions. In my mind I’d set the bar high. I really wanted my four kids to be shining examples of good oral health, hygiene and beautiful teeth. Bottom line? I wanted them to have zero cavities.
With my awareness around all thing dental on the high side of the spectrum, I was a Super Prepared Mum. You know the type. On any given outing I was loaded up with water or watered down juice (the latter only occasionally), crackers, sliced apple, grapes and sultanas. I was ready for when or wherever hunger might strike. Play dates, church, shopping, long trips. It didn’t matter; I was prepared. Looking back now, it’s any wonder I didn’t choke on my halo. I felt so good because I thought I was doing all the right things.
What I didn’t know at the time – and what I’m sharing with you now – is why certain foods were bad for my kids teeth. Yes, I understood that high sugar foods and drinks could create problems. What I didn’t realise that more broadly, a child’s diet could contribute to cavities in kids teeth.
Let me share the good kids teeth news with you
A few months ago I came across a book that I wish I’d read 25 years ago.
More chocolate, no cavities – How diet can keep your kid cavity-free was written by Dr Roger W Lucas. Dr Lucas is a paediatric dentist and has a bachelor degree in biochemistry. In some ways Dr Lucas states the obvious in is book:
Brushing reduces cavities
Flossing reduces cavities
Fluoride reduces cavities
Okay, no rocket science there. But here’s what else he says – and it’s the thing that is overlooked, maybe because it’s not impressive rocket science.
While brushing, flossing and fluoride reduce cavities, it’s not always enough. Prevention – our preferred approach to dental care – takes much less effort when you focus on diet as part of your prevention regime.
He answers the question “What causes cavities in kids teeth?” this way:
The real cause of cavities is the bacteria that live in the mouth and grow on teeth. Mouth bacteria break down simple carbohydrates into lactic acid as part of digestion. If enough lactic acid sits on a tooth for long enough, it dissolves part of the tooth and forms a hole there.
This hole in is called a cavity. And they’re bad news at any age and stage of life.
Preventing the cycle that leads to cavities requires strategy. Why? Because a cavity is not formed after eating one bag of sweets or a week-end visit to the grandparents. Rather, it develops over hundreds, more likely thousands of cycles. Cavities develop through habits repeated 365 days of the year.
If we extrapolate that out, a habit done three times a day, equates to 1,095 occurrences a year. Between the ages of two and five years, that’s equivalent to 3,285 occurrences. With this understanding, it’s much easier to appreciate how cavities develop in our kids teeth.
So I mentioned good news, right, and here it is.
It is NEVER too late to switch to healthier habits to care for your kids teeth.
Regardless of your age. Period.
Prevention is our philosophy at Dental as Anything and we share it with anyone who’ll listen, which is why I’ve included some easy take-aways for you to digest to help you get on the road to healthier dental care and no-cavity-kids:
#1 Have more awareness about what you and your kids are eating.
#2 Reduce the amount of time your child’s teeth are exposed to carbohydrates and you will reduce the chance for cavities. Be especially mindful of the frequency, and ‘stickiness’ of carbohydrates that are consumed. Dr Lucas cites this as being more important to the prevention of cavities than any other variable.
#3 Choose unprocessed foods that take more time to break down and convert into energy. Instead choose foods higher in protein and fats to reduce the mouth’s acidic cavity-causing environment.
#3 Keep up your regular brushing, flossing and fluoride treatments.
#4 Start taking better care right now.
If you have kids, or you’re thinking of having kids, put this book on your reading list. With cavities in kids teeth completely avoidable, it could save you a tonne of money down the track AND it sets them up for life with solid oral hygiene habits.
If you want help getting your kids on a prevention pathway, why not take advantage of our free download. Click on the picture below for the Free Tooth Snack Guide.
We really hope that this helps you and your family. If you have any questions, we service families in the local Gold Coast area of Helensvale, Southport, Oxenford, Hope Island, Pacific Pines, Coomera and Upper Coomera, CALL US on 5573 0188