Summer is coming to an end, and it won’t be long until the school season starts and parents have less control over their children — specifically, their diets. It’s one thing if you pack a lunch for your child each day, but if they’re eating food from the cafeteria, it’s important to be wary of each day’s choices. Eating the wrong foods can hurt not only your children’s overall health, but their dental health in particular. Here are just a few tips to help make sure your child or young teen is eating healthy meals throughout the entire school year.
Provide your child with their own (healthy) beverages so they don’t take a trip to the vending machines.
Everybody knows that sugary drinks are bad for your health and especially your teeth, but many schools stock their vending machines with the worst of the worst: energy drinks. As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, dentists and researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1% to 1.5%). To prevent your child from the temptation, provide them with their own healthy beverages from home. Milk, unsweetened iced tea, and flavored water are all great options.
Pack a healthy snack for between meals.
Some students don’t have lunchtime until later in the afternoon, which means they’re usually hungry before they even get out of their last class. Help them resist cravings by packing them a healthy snack for before lunch. A granola bar, dry cereal, or a piece of fruit are all great options. You never know if the snack they ate before lunch is what prevented them from treating themselves to a sugary dessert.
Check the school lunch menu ahead of time.
Finally, it’s important to check the school’s lunch menu ahead of time to determine whether or not it’s a healthy option. When in doubt, pack your child’s lunch or buy the ingredients they need to make it for themselves. Communicating with your child or young teen is also important to ensure proper dental development and oral health education.
Ultimately, these tips can make sure your child or young teen takes care of their teeth throughout the entire school year. For more information about pediatric dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group.
One 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that more than 65% of parents using bottled water did not know what levels of fluoride it contained. Knowing this, it’s clear to see that both children and adults alike are woefully misinformed about the essential facts of fluoride. Without further ado, let’s debunk some of the most misleading facts about how fluoride affects your teeth and overall dental health:
Fluoride is unsafe for young children.
Perhaps this misconception originated from someone who read a bit too much into the ‘do not swallow’ warnings on toothpaste tubes. But the fact is, fluoride is absolutely safe for young children. Moreover, kids dentists agree that fluoride is an essential component of oral health because it helps to strengthen the enamel. This is important to start from a young age. Make sure to encourage consumption of fluoridated water and twice-daily brushing with your child — their dentist will thank you.
Fluorosis is a common effect of ingesting fluoride.
While it’s true that fluorosis can result from ingesting too much fluoride, it’s very difficult to reach these levels of toxicity. If you have very young children, you may want to ask your dentist what the right amount of fluoride is. You should also double check with your dentist if you plan on using infant formula with fluoridated water — typically, infants should be drinking formula only with purified or distilled water. Still, the chance of fluorosis is very rare.
Fluoride causes cancer.
Finally, this outdated has been discredited long ago, but for some reason, it still scares some people who may not know the facts. Experts agree, however, that there is absolutely no evidence of any sort of connection between fluoride intake and bone cancer. Take it from Colgate Professional:
“The National Cancer Institute asserts, citing decades-long surveys by the Public Health Service and other national organizations and reviews of studies, that there is no association between fluoride and cancer. Years and years of epidemiological data support the safe use of fluoride,” writes Jen Collins.
Now that you know the real facts about fluoride, you can make the most informed decision for your family’s dental health. For more information about kids dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group.