Oral Health: 5 Ways to Avoid Cavities

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: Healthy teeth are an important part of a child’s wellness.
Air Date: 8/20/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Wendy Sue Swanson, MD
Wendy Sue Swanson headshot high resDr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a board certified pediatrician, mother to two young boys and the author of the Seattle Children’s Hospital Seattle Mama Doc Blog, the first pediatrician-authored blog for a major children's hospital.

Dr. Swanson is interested in the intersection of media and medicine and its impact on the physician-patient relationship. Her online presence through her blog and Twitter has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of parents who would have been beyond her reach without social media. Dr. Swanson works diligently to offer parents relevant, practical, and timely health information in accessible formats and she believes that a growing community of online physicians can empower parents and patients to make informed decisions based on science. Tackling issues from vaccines to potty training to work life balance, Dr. Swanson provides a voice of reason, not only as a pediatrician but also as a parent, helping parents gain clarity and eliminate fear when making decisions for their children. Her book, Mama Doc Medicine, published by The American Academy of Pediatrics, hit bookshelves in early 2014.

Dr. Swanson is the founder and executive director of Digital Health at Seattle Children’s. She is also an executive committee member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media. She is also on the Board of Advisors for Parents magazine and is on the board for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. She is a weekly medical contributor with NBC affiliate KING 5 News in Seattle and is a practicing pediatrician with The Everett Clinic. Dr. Swanson is an advocate on the topic of vaccines and was named a CDC Childhood Immunization Champion in 2012. She was named to TIME Magazine's Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.
Oral Health: 5 Ways to Avoid Cavities
Healthy teeth are an important part of a child’s wellness, even from a very young age.

But even if your kids are really great at brushing and flossing, they may still get cavities.

How can you work to prevent cavities in your kids?

Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, and Melanie Cole, MS, discuss five ways to avoid cavities, as well as how good oral health can help keep your children healthy and happy.

Tip #1
Moms (and dads) can pass on cavity-causing bacteria to their babies, even just by kissing them. So, before you even give birth, you should improve your dental hygiene by eliminating bacteria and getting regular checkups.

Tip #2
Don't snack or graze all day long; have one snack, rinse with some good, clean water, and move on! Many people think that the "sticky" foods such as taffy and gummy snacks are the worst for teeth, but carb-based foods like crackers can actually be worse as they tend to stick between teeth.

Tip #3
Start brushing a toddler's teeth beginning at one year old, twice a day, with a rice-grain sized amount of toothpaste containing fluoride ("grown-up" toothpaste).

Tip #4
Encourage your kids to drink tap water. Water from the tap is typically fluoridated, which helps to protect tooth enamel.

Tip #5
Floss, floss, floss! And, as a parent, set that example... if your kids see you practicing good dental hygiene, they will be more likely to do the same.

Bonus Tip
Adding a trusted dental professional as a resource to your medical support system can provide ongoing peace of mind for your entire family.


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