Love 'em or hate 'em, you're usually stuck with the family you're born into. And that family influences a lot: how you see the world, how you celebrate the holidays, who you root for in the World Series, and (as it turns out) even how you take care of your oral health. Here are a few factors to consider when raising children of your own:
Diet: Your Teeth Are What You Eat
Most discussions about children’s diets usually focus on protecting against obesity. However, equally important is your child’s diet and its effect on their dental health. A 2016 study published in the National Library of Medicine illustrated just how much sugar intake promotes cavity growth. Driving home the point that, along with ruining waistlines, this sweet substance can also pepper holes in your child's smile.
In addition to regulating sugary foods, Healthline urges you to be aware of eight teeth-destroying foods. These include obvious candidates like soda and candy, but also items you may not think of, such as bread. And citrus is so acidic that, in large quantities, it can essentially chip away at your child's teeth.
Activity, Exercise and Injury: Defend Your Teeth
While diet is important, part of tooth health comes from plain old-fashioned safety. This is especially true for larger families. Those of us with siblings can no doubt remember the fights and wrestling matches. These could easily chip a tooth or cut gums.
In addition, while it is healthy to encourage your children to play most sports, make sure they are always wearing proper protection. A baseball or hockey puck can eradicate a smile much quicker than any amount of jellybeans.
Household Income: Put Your Money Where Their Mouth Is
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, while money may not be able to buy you happiness, it can be a big influencer in a healthy smile. A 2017 article from Harvard University highlighted the dangers of oral decay amongst America's low-income families.
We get it. dental care can be a challenging expense for some. However, helping your children to practice good oral hygiene and getting them the preventative care they need, can protect them against more costly (not to mention painful and health -threatening) issues down the road.
Even though none of us can say for sure what the future holds for our children, we can take some important measures today to set them up for good dental health. By focusing and instructing your kids today about healthy eating, protecting their teeth and oral health, and making hygiene and preventative care a priority, you have the ability to pass down a very valuable family tradition...and that’s regardless of who your home team is.