By Airman 1st Class Lindsay Walls-Ott, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron
/ Published February 11, 2019
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so if you have toddlers or pre-K aged children, you may be beginning to introduce them to the importance of oral healthcare. As parents, introducing concepts like this may sometimes be difficult. The Little Rock Air Force Base Dental Clinic will be visiting the two child development centers and Lighthouse Charter School on base during the month of February. To assist with this we will demonstrate fun and easy ways to keep kids’ mouths clean and healthy, followed by the children receiving a dental hygiene goody bag as a gift!
Tips on Snacking in the Household
It’s important to maintain and pass down healthy snacking habits to your kids because it can be a dental health issue for children, as well as adults. After every sugary snack or drink, you should drink water to rinse the mouth. This is so the plaque film responsible for cavities doesn’t have time to form on your teeth.
When you consume something sugary, that sugar is broken down by bacteria in your mouth to form an acid. This acid then begins to attack the enamel, or the outer layer of your teeth. This weakens the tooth and creates cavities.
Due to this chemical reaction, it’s best to not let your kids snack right before bed. In the mornings, your children may notice that their teeth feel “fuzzy;” this is because of bacteria building up in their sleep. Snacking can worsen this and give the bacteria more time to create enamel-weakening acid.
Here are some tips to prevent cavities:
Keep sugary snacks and drinks out of your children's reach in the house.
Use a straw when consuming sugary drinks to keep sugar away from teeth.
Give your child water after each meal and snack.
Limit the amount of snacks to one or two per day at most.
Following these tips can give your child a smile they are proud of, as well as reduce their time in the dental chair.
If you have any questions about the information mentioned in this article, call Little Rock AFB dental clinic at (501) 987-7304, or visit www.ADA.org.