Dr. Roger Lucas is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Washington, and the author of More Chocolate, No Cavities, available on Amazon. After recently attending a Zoom lecture where he discussed the highlights of his book, I was interested enough to read it in its entirety over the holiday break.
As it turns out, this book is an excellent guide to keeping children (or anyone with teeth!) cavity-free. There are discussions about how cavities are formed, dental myths, and answers to common questions relating to pediatric dentistry. Here are the 3 main principles Dr. Lucas shares to ensure your child is not doomed to a mouth filled with cavities, even if they have “bad genetics”.
Brush teeth every night to remove bacteria. No food, and only water to drink afterwards. Yes, dentists always preach brushing and flossing at least two times a day. However, one “perfect” brush with the help from a parent is better than two less-than-perfect times by the young child unsupervised.
Do not graze or sip all day. This tip is about the frequency of your teeth having to fight off sugar assault. Cavities are more likely if food or sugary drinks are being consumed constantly throughout the day. Feed children at designated meal and snack times (5-6 times a day). Drink only water between meals, no juice or milk.
Eat teeth-friendly foods. More chocolate, less CRACKERS. This tip is a little more provocative because it seems counterintuitive, but trust me, the book explains it all. Is it practical to completely eliminate all sugary foods from a child’s diet? It is possible, but in most cases, not likely. So, we need to pick foods that do not linger in the mouth for extended periods of time. Specifically, dry crackers and cereal have an amazing ability to stick to teeth and wreak havoc on enamel. Basically, more crackers = more holes in teeth = more trips to the dentist. For snack time, try to choose fruits, veggies, nuts, and cheese. But, when the kiddos need a little something extra, I recommend some dark chocolate or ice cream that can be easily washed away by saliva, than those pesky crackers that are not.
This list just barely scratches the surface of cavity prevention, but the principles here are practical, and I believe reasonable to implement into real life. Studies show that over 60% of children have cavities by the age of 5. I am always happy to chat more about how to make your child one of the “unusual” ones, and help you keep them cavity-free!
Happy smiling :)