A Sweet Treat for Kids' Teeth
Have you heard about the candy that's good for your kids' teeth? Well, it's not really candy; it's nature's candy -- raisins.
Protective compounds known as phytochemicals are found in raisins and appear to help fight cavities by inhibiting the growth of certain types of oral bacteria. Raisins also prevent the bacteria from sticking to your children's teeth. Keep their teeth healthy by reminding them to brush and floss every day, scheduling regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings, and offering smile-friendly snacks.
Your child's mouth is full of germs. Many belong there, but some, such as S. mutans and P. gingivalis, can be harmful. Researchers isolated compounds in raisins shown to inhibit cavity-causing S. mutans as well as P. gingivalis, which play a role in periodontal disease. Other beneficial compounds in raisins prevented S. mutans from sticking to teeth, which also could help thwart cavities. More research is needed to confirm these findings. In the meantime, having your kids munch on raisins is not a substitute for instilling good oral hygiene habits starting as early as possible. Help your kids stay on top of regular brushing with these tips.
How much toothpaste: Although commercials show a big S-shaped bit of toothpaste on the entire brush all kids need is a pea-sized dab or the length of your child's pinky nail.
How long: Dentists generally recommend brushing 3-4 minutes, but 2 minutes will do the trick.
Reality check: Most people only spend 30 seconds brushing.
Hint: Try using a kitchen timer or hourglass to measure your child's brushing time. Or play your child's favorite song while she's brushing and have a rule that she can't stop until the music's over.