This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation – Cavities Get Around campaign. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you’ll know that I talk a lot about dental health. It’s an important topic, not just because of my own lifelong battle with nice teeth, but because I have children now who don’t understand why it’s so important to take care of theirs.
When I was growing up, my mom used to brag about how white her teeth were – “So white they are almost blue!” she’d say. And it was true. Though she had several filled cavities, she took good care of her teeth, brushing and flossing regularly.
I personally never had a single cavity until later in life. I LOVED going to the dentist when I was a kid, as it was never painful, and I loved the feeling of clean teeth I had afterward. I wasn’t someone who brushed three times a day, but I took pretty good care of them. My biggest frustration is that my teeth had all grown in exceptionally crooked due to me being a thumb sucker as a baby. I ended up with braces as a teenager, and it was only then that I truly learned how to properly care for my mouth.
When pregnant with my first child, everything changed. I started drinking caffeine-free Starbucks lattes filled with sugar (it was my major craving) and lots of store-bought juices and smoothies. And since my gag reflex was so strong, I had a hard time brushing my teeth without throwing up, so I often went without. Gross, right? About six months into the pregnancy, I went to the dentist and found out that I had my first cavity. Over the course of the next two pregnancies, I developed several more.
I knew that when I had kids, I wanted to teach them early on the importance of oral care. My first son used to lay his head in my lap when he was six months old, and I’d take a small toothbrush and run it gently over his gums to get him used to the idea of tooth brushing. I didn’t let him drink juice, and while the moms in my social circle were giving their toddlers chocolate and ice cream, I tried hard to keep him away from such sugary treats.
But as it always does, life got in the way. Two more kids followed in quick succession, and suddenly I realized that my oldest son was four and had never been to the dentist! We booked them all in for a check up, and I was mortified when I found out that my child had a cavity. At four years old, he had to go through the process of having it filled.
Thankfully, the whole process was painless and rather easy for him, but my guilt knew no bounds. I realized that I had been too lax in taking care of his baby teeth. We all know there’s a lot to learn when you become a mom, and it’s so easy for baby teeth to fall off the radar. We convince ourselves they aren’t that important since they’re just going to fall out and be replaced with adult teeth eventually. However it is important to remember that baby teeth play an integral role in a child’s oral and overall health.
Baby teeth are far more vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay than adult teeth, and dental disease is five times more common than asthma in kids, though far more preventable. Plus, cavities can spread from baby teeth to adult teeth. And if baby teeth have to be removed before they’re ready, adult teeth are more likely to come in crooked or in poor health.
So what can we do?
First, have your kids drink more water and less sugary drinks like juices, sodas or even sports drinks, which can have as much as five teaspoons of sugar! Even having orange juice with breakfast isn’t as safe as you think. Did you know that ten ounces of orange juice can have almost as much sugar as THREE DONUTS!? Sugar feeds bacteria, which leads to tooth decay.
While I’m not suggesting you never give your child a treat, remember to give them tons of water, as well. Baby teeth especially love tap water, as when fluoridated, it can reduce tooth decay in children and adults by 25% over a person’s lifetime! It can also strengthen thin enamel.
The Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation’s goal is to eradicate childhood tooth decay. The Cavities Get Around campaign is helping educate communities on the importance of baby teeth and the danger of sugar impeding healthy development.
Check out this video series on YouTube which discusses how and why you can help prevent dental issues in your children.