Smart tips for healthier smiles

A healthy smile builds confidence, self-esteem, and helps to create an emotionally healthy child! We find our patients are living longer, and in order to live a long, healthy life, one of the most important daily routines is preventive oral hygiene starting at a very early age.

It’s a common misconception that just because little ones don’t yet have teeth, their oral care routine shouldn’t be as thorough. In reality, it’s quite the opposite! Starting proper oral care as early as possible is a great way to create a healthy environment for new teeth to develop. An easy way for parents to promote a positive oral environment for the development of emerging teeth is to use a xylitol-based tooth gel on their babies’ gums. One of my favorites is the Spry Kids Tooth Gel. This works to clean the oral cavity from bacteria that will cause disease, as well as cleans the gums and is all-natural and safe to swallow.

Another habit parents should avoid is putting your infant or older child to bed with a bottle of juice, formula or milk. Sugary liquids cling to teeth and feed bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. If a bottle is necessary at bedtime, only water works! To keep little ones’ mouths healthy around bedtime and avoid ‘baby bottle syndrome,’ it’s a good idea to restrict sugary drinks and foods to a minimum, using them only as a treat. It is essential to take care of the twenty baby teeth children get between the ages of six months and two years of age, because these teeth hold the space in the jaw for the permanent teeth to erupt into a healthy space and environment. Baby teeth also allow our jaw bone to develop properly through the early stages of life.

Tooth decay, although largely preventable with good care, is one of the most chronic diseases of children between the ages of 6 and 10. More than 40% of children have cavities when they reach schooling age. Switching out your child’s toothbrush every three months, and scheduling visits with your dentist twice a year will help keep tooth decay at bay. Using toothpaste that contains xylitol is great for children’s teeth as well. Xylitol is a natural defense against cavities and gum disease and it will help to keep smiles bright and healthy! I love to recommend Spry Toothpaste because it is great tasting and is sweetened naturally with xylitol.

In addition to teaching kids proper dental health habits, it is important to remember that nutrition plays a huge part in keeping our smiles and bodies healthy, too! Great foods to keep in mind are cheese, nuts, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains and fruits. Xylitol is a great addition to our nutrition routine as well; it can be found in berries, mushrooms, lettuce, natural sweeteners, gum, and some toothpastes and mouthwashes. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is vital as well, not only to stay hydrated, but to maintain the health of your teeth. Drinking water helps to remove food, bacteria and plaque that inevitably forms during the day. It also keeps the oral cavity moist, which in return makes teeth less prone to cavities and gums less prone to forming diseases. In order to remove particles of food and bacteria from between the teeth entirely, I recommend flossing prior to brushing. When we brush first and floss second, I find particles tend to creep back into the crevices of the mouth and promote disease.

To find out more about Dr. Debra Glassman and Glassman Dental Care, visit her website at