Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - Feb. 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 28 of 45

Happy teeth Make the most of your child's trip to the dentist By ELORA TOCCI A trip to the dentist can spark all types of reactions in kids, from beaming pride ("Look, Ma, no cavities!") to sheer panic ("Don't bring that drill anywhere near me!"). If your child falls into the latter category — or somewhere in the middle of the dental anxiety spectrum — don't worry. In honor of National Children's Dental Health Month, we've asked local dentists for some simple tips to help your kids develop great oral hygiene habits. Lose the juice Although most children love the taste of juices and sodas, the skyhigh sugar content of these drinks can ruin their teeth. Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman of Dolson Avenue Dental in Middletown says juice in sippy cups is especially dangerous. "Kids walk around for hours at a time with their sippy cups, and then their teeth are bathed in sugar all day," she says. If kids can't break If parents have anxiety about going to the dentist, kids will pick up on it. their juice habit, Waldman suggests limiting their intake to one glass a day — preferably with breakfast, right before they brush their teeth. The rest of the day kids should hydrate with milk or water, and save the sugary stuff for special occasions. Waldman's own kids only have juice and soda at birthday parties or other special events. "If you don't drink something regularly, you don't care about it as much and you don't miss it after a while." Avoid sticky sweets Sticky foods, such as Starbursts, fruit roll-ups or raisins, can wreak just as much havoc on teeth as Mountain Dew or Sunny D. Even fruit snacks, which may seem like a better alternative, can be damaging. "They might be all natural or organic, but your teeth don't care if they're organic," Waldman says. If candy is a non-negotiable for your child, Xylitol lollipops provide sweet fruit flavors without the sugar. Otherwise, desserts like ice cream, pudding, plain chocolate, and sugar-free ice pops are much more teeth-friendly options because they can easily be brushed off. Pick out a toothbrush Kids are more likely to brush away the bad stuff consistently if they like the tool they're using. Toothbrushes come in all types of colors and characters, and Waldman suggests bringing your kids to the store with you so they can pick out one that they like. "It makes brushing every day a lot more fun," she says. Certain toothbrushes will even flash lights or play music for the amount of time a child should brush. For kids who might be anxious (Continued on Page 30) n Hudson Valley Parent 29

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Hudson Valley Parent - HVP - Feb. 2014