Nutrition Counseling in Alpharetta and Johns Creek, Georgia
It is very important to begin thinking about dental health very early on in your child’s life. This includes cleaning their teeth and gums frequently and taking them to a pediatric dentist before their first birthday. However, early oral health consciousness also includes considering how your child’s overall health and habits can affect their teeth.
As pediatric dentists who often treat very young children, part of our responsibility is offering nutritional counseling for our patients to their parents to help them understand the many factors that affect oral health early in life. At their first pediatric dental appointment, we will discuss some helpful tips and information to ensure that your child’s oral health is off to a great start. We are all about preventative practices and giving your child the chance to grow into their best, healthiest smile!
Nutritional counseling will benefit your child’s oral health and overall health. After all, teeth and bones need the same nutrients to stay strong and healthy! We will continue this counseling throughout each patient’s childhood, checking in about diet and oral health concerns at each dental appointment, as each stage of development requires different types of oral hygiene and care and different dietary considerations.
Did you know that periodontal disease in pregnant mothers can actually affect the oral health of children once they are born? It is very important to continue to see your dentist regularly throughout your pregnancy, as the bacteria that causes cavities and other dental maladies can be passed down to your children. Dental care during pregnancy is a good idea for the mother’s health as well, as it is important to make sure you are getting enough calcium and nutrients throughout the pregnancy!
When your child is a baby, we will focus our nutritional counseling on the specific concerns of their age group. At this stage, our main concern is ensuring that their teeth are able to grow into their proper positions. We also want to make sure that their gums are health and undamaged. Our specific advice will vary depending on each individual patient’s age and situation, but we have some general tips for our youngest patients.
No sugary drinks in bed
Liquids other than water, like juice and even breast milk, that contain sugar can cause a lot of damage to your baby’s teeth if they fall asleep drinking them. This is because as they stop drinking and drift off to sleep, the liquid will remain in their mouth and pool around their teeth. This will give the sugar the chance to break down and damage the enamel on your child’s teeth and cause cavities and other uncomfortable or even painful dental issues early in their development. If your child needs the comfort of a bottle to fall asleep on their own, try to put them to bed with water instead of milk or juice whenever possible.
Prevent baby bottle tooth decay
Baby bottles and sippy cups can actually lead to early tooth decay, also known as early childhood caries. This is because these kinds of cups can encourage young children to passively leave liquids in their mouths for a long time, and they can sit on the teeth and cause the damage discussed above. Try to stick to water when your child is thirsty between meals to avoid baby bottle decay.
Toddlers and Kids
Once your child gets a little bit older and can eat a variety of foods and take charge of some of their oral hygiene routine, our advice for their oral health with change to better suit this new chapter in their lives.
Limit sugar when possible
Even though your child is older and better at eating, sugar can still affect their teeth! Try to limit sugary snacks and drinks like candy and soda. Their teeth will be healthier, and so will their bodies!
Your child’s teeth, bones, brain, and body need a variety of nutrients to grow and stay healthy and strong! Encourage your child to try different fruits and veggies whenever possible. If you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, try incorporating small changes in their favorite foods. For example, try chopping up different veggies for their spaghetti sauce every time you make it!
Fluoride is a very important part of oral health care. While it can be applied topically via toothpaste or mouthwash, it can also be consumed through water! Most water is fluoridated. Consuming water throughout the day will keep your child hydrated and help their teeth from the inside!
If your child has any specific health concerns or dietary restrictions, we will be happy to discuss alternative dietary options with you at their next pediatric dental appointment. Together, we can help your child achieve their healthiest, happiest smile. Schedule their next appointment with us today!