Youth Dental Health Month

February 29, 2016 | Jody Gatewood

little girl with toothpaste on hands

My 6-year old son complains about doing it. My 2-year old daughter would do it 5 times a day if you let her. What am I talking about? Brushing their teeth.

It’s not just about preventing cavities, taking care of our teeth is so important to overall health. One reason is because strong, healthy teeth are necessary in order to eat a nutritious diet that includes crunchy fruits and vegetables, like apples, carrots, and broccoli. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Teaching children how to take care of their teeth at a young age will help them develop healthy lifelong habits. The American Dental Association gives these recommendations:

  • Brush two minutes, two times a day.
  • Clean between your teeth daily.
  • Limit snacks, eat healthy meals.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.

I would also add ‘drink water instead of sugary beverages’. There are 8-10 teaspoons of sugar in a 12-ounce can of regular pop. The sugar is not good for teeth and the pop provides no nutrition. If children want something sweet to drink, freeze juice in an ice cube tray to use in water. As the ice melts it will provide a slight sweet taste to the water without adding a lot of extra sugar. If children drink juice, be sure it is 100% juice and limit it to 4-6 ounces or less per day.

Make brushing your teeth fun by doing it together or putting on a song that lasts two minutes to pass the time. Just don’t let your 2-year old get a hold of the new tube of toothpaste!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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