Hungry Babies Bite into a Tasty New World
It’s a big new world out there for your little one as they learn to roll, scoot, and crawl, collecting objects to eat along the way. Kids always have a knack for turning inedible things into food. But as tempting as it is to give your baby new foods to satisfy their curious mouths, be sure to do your research on what is appropriate for their developing teeth and how to provide them with proper dental care. Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman have some good tips!
We all know it is important to limit certain foods for adults as it increases risks for cavities and gum disease, but kids are kids, so they can eat whatever they want, right? WRONG. Kids need to be wary of the same foods as their parents. Even though most of the meal finds its way to their clothes, hair, and floor, it is important to be wary of what they have. Increases in sugary and acidic foods will cause physical damage and it will also teach bad habits.
Bread and fruits share a common bond as being good cavity producers with their sugar content. Foods to be wary of: chips, crackers, cereals, fruits, and sticky spreads like peanut butter. Juice in particular is a familiar favorite in Sippy cups as it provides a good source of vitamins, but most juices contain extremely high levels of sugar. Parents want to make sure to limit these or try watering the juices down. None of these foods are dangerous to their nutrition; they should just be eaten in moderate and often with meals, not as snacks.
The physical form of food is also important. Babies grow quickly, including their mouths, but Periodontal Associates want you to know that some substances are still too difficult for kids to manipulate with their new teeth. Choking is the 4th leading cause of death for kids under the age of 5. And according to the AAP, Children don’t master the type of chewing necessary for eating raw vegetables and hard candies until age 4. Even as babies start teething and want to gnaw on everything in sight, be sure to keep tougher food, seeds, and pits out of site.
Sometimes it is not what you are feeding your children, instead it is the lack of care afterwards. For example, your baby is crying late at night and you soothe them to sleep with a warm bottle of milk. Why is this bad? You are coating your kids’ teeth with the sugars in the milk and allowing it to marinate all night long.
Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman suggest moms start brushing their kids’ teeth as early as possible. Is it best to start with a progression of using a dot of fluoride toothpaste, a pea sized amount around the age of 2, then about the size of a bean once the child is 5 years old. Build healthy habits by brushing together, twice daily, to make it more enjoyable.
Making brushing FUN is the key to building healthy habits and great dental preventative care. You can take turns brushing each other’s teeth, use cartoon toothbrushes, turn on songs to dance to while brushing, or you could try videotaping them so they feel like they are putting on a play!
Feel free to contact Periodontal Associates if you have any questions regarding your child’s dental health as it is never too early to begin dental care. In fact, our doctors (Ken Versman, Doug Heller, and Eric Beckman) hope your little one is seeing their first dentist by the age of one! If they are scared, please feel free to bring them with you during your next visit with us to show them how fun the dentist can be (especially our dental implant team at Periodontal Associates).
Please call us for any more information or click here for an appointment. We are located in Aurora, CO and provide care for the Denver metro area. Periodontal Associates hopes you can teach your kids early to love their teeth and how to keep them safe. We look forward to helping them keep them clean in order to prevent the need for dental implants or gum disease. Happy eating kids!