By Aisha Sultan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tooth decay affects more than one-fourth of U.S. children aged 2-5 and half of those aged 12-15, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Obviously, it is important to start children with brushing and flossing early and creating a habit of brushing after sweets.
The Eco-Dentistry Association, an international association of dental professionals who use eco-friendly methods, offers these six tips for improving dental health while being mindful of environmental issues.
- Teach your kids to turn off the water while they brush. This can save up to 90 glasses of water per day!
- Look for toothpaste that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate which can cause canker sores in some kids.
- The teen years are a great time to introduce a tooth tonic or mouthwash into a dental routine. Look for one that does not contain alcohol. Some mouthwashes can contain up to five times the alcohol of beer.
- Night guards for teens. Prevent damage caused by clenching and grinding related to stress. Choose one created by your dentist specific to your teen’s bite. Ask for one that doesn’t contain potentially harmful BPAs found in many plastics.
- Digital imaging — choose digital imaging for your child’s radiographs (x-rays). These diagnostic images use less radiation, won’t degrade over time and are easily sent by e-mail to specialists.
- Dentistry is a healing experience and should not be traumatic. Take your child with you to your dental appointments from a young age. Sitting on your lap or getting to sit in the dental chair without being a “patient” will ensure dental appointments are a positive experience for your child.