Preventing Tooth Decay

Eat Healthy

  • Avoid food and beverages rich in sugar, including:
    • Soft drinks and juices with added sugar
    • Energy drinks, due to their sugar content and also their acidity
    • Candies, especially those that stick to teeth for a while and that are difficult to remove, caramel candies for example
    • Sticky cookies, pastries and cereal bars
    • Chips, that contain starch, a substance that turns into sugar during manufacturing processes
  • Preferably, consume the following food and beverages:
    • Milk, yogurt and cheese
    • Fruits and raw vegetables
    • Nuts and grains
    • Wholegrain cereals
    • Juices with no added sugar
  • Put less sugar in your coffee or tea, or ideally, none at all
  • Reduce consumption of food that is rich in sugar
  • If you consume food that is prone to causing cavities, eat it at the same time as other nutritious food such as hard cheeses. They contain phosphorous and calcium, which protect teeth enamel. Also, chewing hard cheese increases saliva production. Saliva cleans teeth, neutralises acid in the mouth and protects against cavities
  • Consume sweet food at the end of your meals rather than by themselves as a snack. This is less damaging to your teeth because chewing food during a meal increases saliva production
  • Where possible, drink fluoridated water

Advice for babies and young children

  • When your baby has teeth, limit the frequency of breastfeeding during the night, and remove the breast before they fall asleep. Because the mouth produces less saliva during sleep, your baby’s teeth are less protected against sugars in the milk while asleep
  • Avoid giving your child a bottle of milk in bed to make them fall asleep. You can however give them a baby bottle of water. If your child already has the habit of falling asleep with a bottle of milk, dilute it with water. Gradually decrease the quantity of milk over the course of a week or 2 until the bottle contains only water
  • Never dip your child’s pacifier in sweet products such sugar, corn syrup or honey
  • Avoid putting your child’s pacifier, bottle, food and utensils in your mouth. This way, you do not transmit your child bacteria that can cause cavities
  • Use a teething ring rather than teething biscuits
  • If you give your child juices or sweet drinks, do so only during or after meals. Eating increases saliva production in your child’s mouth, which, in turn, helps combat the effect of bacteria on teeth. Give your child water between meals
  • Never give your child juice or sweet drinks in a bottle or a spout. Instead, use an ordinary cup to avoid that teeth remain in prolonged contact with the sweet liquids
  • At around 12 to 14 months of age, stop giving your child the bottle and get them accustomed to drinking from a cup
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in concentrated juices by diluting them with water

Last update: November 8, 2016 10:44 AM

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