Author: Dawn W.Y. Woo, DMD, MSD
Taking Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is great for boosting your immune system. The little chewable tablets taste very good and may be one of the easier vitamins for your kids to take. Just beware, those little chewable tablets are made of ascorbic acid which causes dental erosion. When your child is chewing them, the teeth are exposed to the acid. Best thing to do- chew them quickly and drink water afterwards to help dilute the acids or choose a tablet that your child can swallow.
Using an antibacterial toothpaste.
Not all bacteria are bad. You have Protective Bacteria that live in your mouth, in your gut and on your skin that are normal and necessary for optimum health. Protective bacteria work by hogging up space so the disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria have nowhere to grow. Protective bacteria are weaker than disease-causing bacteria and are easily killed by antibacterial toothpaste. Avoid toothpaste with the ingredient triclosan. Triclosan was banned by the FDA in 2016. It was found that regular use could lead to bacterial resistance and hormonal effects.
Using interproximal (proxy brushes) brushes in place of flossing.
The triangular space between teeth is filled with normal, healthy gum tissue. When you use the proxy brushes in place of flossing, over time the size of the brush will push the gums away from the teeth and create a gap. Food is more easily trapped in the gap and prolonged exposure of food to the teeth can lead to sensitive teeth, cavities and gum disease.
Using a water flosser.
The idea of the water flosser is good, but can it really provide a stream of water strong enough to clean to the tooth surface? Think of washing your car…you will get some of the dirt off the car by spraying it with just a hose, but to really clean it to the clear coat, you need to rub the car with a mitt or brush. The same with teeth. You will get some of the food off, but you may also be leaving a thin layer of plaque.
Using a medium or hard bristled toothbrush.
Brushing too hard or using anything but a soft toothbrush can damage gums and cause gum recession. Like the heart, gum tissue does not grow back when damaged. Gum recession can expose the roots of teeth causing sensitivity and can lead root cavities.
Taking vitamins, but not enough vitamin D or Calcium.
Vitamin D is needed in order for Calcium to be optimally used by the body. If your child’s vitamin D levels are low, she may not be able to absorb the calcium needed for proper bone and teeth development. Talk to your pediatrician about testing Vitamin D levels. In the Pacific Northwest, we do not get enough sun exposure most of the year to have our bodies produce enough natural Vitamin D.
Brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking anything acidic.
Acidic foods (examples: oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, pineapple, grapes, blueberries, tomatoes) soften enamel. It takes your enamel about 30 minutes to harden. If you brush within 30 minutes, you are brushing away the softened enamel which can leave your teeth weaker.
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