• Florida Family Living

Stay at Home

Updated: May 6

Tips to Keep Your Child Healthy

SPONSORED BY: Dentistry for Children and Adolescents


Staying at home during this COVID-19 Pandemic has forced us to be creative and re-think the way we do life. With so much uncertainty, there are things that you can still control. Many of your daily activities can have a direct effect on the oral health and ultimately overall growth and development of your child.


SNACK SMART

Children need to snack in order to keep their energy levels sustained throughout the day. Avoid stocking up on empty-calorie snacks like chips and sugary treats that can make your child hungry again in no time and many cause hyperactivity from a sugar rush. Keep also in mind that cavity-producing bacteria in the mouth come in contact with sugars to produce acids that breakdown the enamel and may lead to tooth decay.


Give your child snacks that will build energy and keep them satisfied for a long time. Choose snacks that are full of protein, vitamins and good fats like:


• Peanut or almond butter with celery or an apple

• Granola bars

• Yogurt and fruit

• Fruit smoothies

• Turkey and cheese wraps


Fruits and veggies are like natural toothbrushes. The chewing effect mixed with saliva may help reduce the amount of plaque that’s produced and stimulate proper growth and development of the jaws. Healthy options can help your child have a healthier smile.


KEEP A ROUTINE

Staying safe at home means no more rushing your kids to school and staying in your pajamas for a little longer. Whether your kids are staying late to catch their favorite TV show or waking up late to start home school, resist the temptation to skip a good oral hygiene routine. Create a calendar that includes brushing at least twice a day and flossing every night. If your child is 8 y/o or younger, the mechanical ability to do good dental hygiene may not be fully developed. Spend time teaching and helping them brush and floss.


My rule for flossing is not age related. If you don’t see a space in-between teeth, you must floss that area.

Frequent snacking through the day will require more toothbrushing sessions. Do not panic if you run out or can’t find your child’s favorite toothpaste! Just the action of brushing will be enough to remove the plaque and food from the teeth. In keeping a good oral hygiene routine, you will help your kid’s smile stay healthy until you can return to your pediatric dentist for routine dental care.


EXERCISE FOR FUN

Keeping your child active improves their overall attitude and ability to learn. Make time for indoor recess and involve everyone in the activity. Even if you don’t have much space indoors, there are fun ways to keep your child active at home:


• Indoor soccer or broom-hockey (Carefully toss the ball around)

• In-place exercises (Jumping jacks, Jump rope, Crawling)

• Freeze Dance (Dance only when the music plays)


A good workout will make your child thirsty. Choose water instead of a sports drink to keep them hydrated. Sports drinks are not only sugary but also acidic. This is not a good combination to keep your child’s dental enamel strong and cavity-free.


SLEEP TO THRIVE

Many children get the right amount of sleep but not the quality sleep that they need in order to grow and develop properly. If your child snores, mouth breathes, is a restless sleeper or falls asleep frequently throughout the day, chances are the brain and body are not getting enough oxygen during sleep time.


Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) usually involves a blockage of the airway in the child’s throat or nose. It may manifest itself with random symptoms like: poor attention, bed-wetting, allergies, behavioral issues, nightmares, learning difficulties and crooked teeth. Many of these health issues may have a dental root cause that can often be corrected with timely intervention. SDB can be easily overlooked, misdiagnosed and unfortunately left untreated. While at home, observe your child for any of these symptoms if you suspect they are not getting the quality of sleep needed in order to thrive.


The last few weeks have been very difficult and right now we don’t know what the future holds. This too shall pass and we will go back to our old routines. Keeping these good habits will help your family stay stronger and your child healthy for years to come.

Dr. Maribel Santo-Cordero is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Lakewood Ranch dedicated to the oral health of children, adolescents and children with special needs. She believes in helping children achieve their full potential by providing all the necessary tools to achieve optimal oral health, in particular those with Sleep Disordered Breathing. Visit sarasotachildrendentistry.com to learn more about her practice.

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