Living in the modern world, we would think we’ve evolved beyond things like polio, smallpox, and death by abscessed tooth. And, for the most part, it’s true. But, according to the Centers For Disease Control, we’re not out of the woods yet. Many children still suffer from tooth decay – about 1 in 5, or 20 percent aged 5 to 11 suffering from tooth decay, and roughly 13 percent aged 12 to 19 having at least one untreated decayed tooth.

In fact, it’s the most common chronic condition of childhood in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know to protect your children.

Establish Good Hygiene Early

Good hygiene involves brushing and flossing. In general, children should brush every day, twice a day – once in the morning after breakfast and once before bed after the last meal. Flossing should be done with brushing.

Many busy moms and dads assume that their children can handle brushing on their own after a few crash courses in brushing. But, children don’t always pick up good habits right away. You need to start as early as a few days after birth, cleaning baby’s mouth and gums with a clean and moist gauze pad or washcloth after feeding.

When teeth start to breath through, decay can occur, so it’s important to clean them after meals. Until you’re comfortable with your child’s ability to manipulate and use a toothbrush properly, you should do the cleaning.

If you need a children’s emergency dentist like, keep it on speed dial. Children do sometimes have the tendency to accidentally swallow toothpaste or gargle, so be careful and watch them closely.

Establish Good Dietary Habits Early

Good dietary habits can be difficult to instill in your child if you yourself don’t have good habits. Children learn from you, so if you want them to have good teeth you will probably need to make changes yourself.

Here’s what you need to focus on:

  • Nutrient-rich foods.
  • Low-sugar and starch foods.
  • Diets that are high in natural fat, which contain fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Diets that are low in processed foods.

Mostly, this means eating a lot of foods like meats (including liver and other organ meats, as well as bone marrow or supplementing with cod liver oil for vitamins A, K2, and E).

For children under 3, pay extra-special attention to the amount of nutrients you’re feeding the child. Eliminate all sources of junk food and processed food and feed your child nutrient-dense fresh foods (vegetables, meat, low-sugar fruits, and some nuts). Make sure the child gets plenty of fats, because children (especially babies) need a lot of fat in their diet.

Some of the best foods include butter from pasture-raised cows (rich in vitamin A, vitamin K2, and other fat-soluble vitamins), organ meats like liver, cod liver oil, lard, pasture-raised pork, beef, and chicken, egg yolks, wild-caught salmon, organic green vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables.

Children often learn bad dietary habits from parents, so if you’re not a healthy eater, don’t expect your child to be.

You can’t give children contradictory messages – they will either see through it or become confused, possibly both.

Visit The Dentist Periodically

Your child will probably need to visit the dentist on a semi-frequent basis for checkups and cleanings, even with good diet and lifestyle choices and hygiene. These cleanings should be mostly routine, and will allow the dentist to make sure you’re not overlooking something.

Some dentists use this as an opportunity to apply fluoride treatments. While it’s not always necessary, it can help strengthen your child’s teeth. And, many dentists recommend it as a way to prevent cavities.

Most people don’t understand how fluoride works, which leads to confusion and, sometimes, backlash in the natural foods and living community (which is a valuable source of information when you’re looking to eat and life a healthy lifestyle).

Fluoride is a byproduct of the fertilizer industry. That scares some people, but as this dentist points out, it’s a useful byproduct of the industry because what the fertilizer industry needs is the phosphorus from their processing. The rest, for the industry, is “waste.”

Fluoride is naturally found everywhere, especially in otherwise healthy foods and drinks like tea, usually bound to calcium. It’s a substance that coats teeth, making them harder and protecting them from sugars and plaque.

Yes, it can be overdone, and when too much fluoride is applied to teeth, it can cause fluorosis. That’s why it’s important to work with a competent dentist who takes the time to understand your child’s current fluoride intake.

The cleanings are also a great way for the dentist to spot other potential tooth issues early before they become major problems.

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After earning his bachelors degree from the University of Maryland, Dr. Corcoran went on to graduate from the University of Maryland Dental School. Since 2001, he has taken ongoing continuing education courses at the UCLA Dental School, including many in cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Corcoran has been a staff member of the Vail Valley Medical Center for over 30 years ; sponsors a free day of dentistry every October providing free dental care to the local community.  This year, the Medical Center honored him with a special recognition being a leader in the community; for his steadfast commitment to his patients. It is the first time this honor was given to a dentist in the Medical Centers 50 year history.  Dr. Corcoran looks forward to your visit ; to showing you how exceptional dentistry can improve your life.

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