Healthy Teeth Set the Foundation for Healthy Lives

You tell your kids to brush their teeth — but are they really getting them clean? Tooth decay affects more American children than any other chronic infectious disease. If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to painful infections that can impact a child’s ability to eat, speak and concentrate.

Cavities are completely preventable — if your children take care of their teeth. The following tips will help keep parents and their children smiling:

* Encourage your children to skip sticky, sugary treats. Dentists advise against lollipops for a reason — sugar feeds the harmful bacteria that grow in the mouth, allowing them to create plaque and, eventually, cavities or gum disease. All sugars can encourage these bacteria to grow, but sugary foods or drinks that stick to the teeth are more harmful that those that leave no residue. Snacking constantly, rather than eating only at meals, also increases the time in which sugar can feed harmful bacteria. Encourage children to brush their teeth or drink water after eating to rinse their mouths.

* Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Children should brush their teeth after breakfast and before bedtime. Tell children to brush all of their teeth, including the sides and back. Children should brush their teeth for at least three minutes — use a timer or play a short song to encourage the right amount of brushing.

* Use oral care probiotics. Having spent more than 30 years researching oral health, Dr. Jeffrey Hillman, DMD, Ph.D., has identified three unique probiotic strains that are natural residents in healthy mouths. The result is a special blend of probiotics that forms colonies of beneficial bacteria on the teeth and gums, where they crowd out harmful bacteria. One of his products, EvoraKids (, is an all-natural probiotic chewable made specifically for children and comes in a tasty “Wild Very Cherry Berry” flavor. Using the chewables twice a day, after brushing, will put children on the road to a long life of healthy smiles.

* Visit the dentist. Children need to see the dentist twice a year for an oral cleaning and checkup. Aside from checking teeth for cavities and gum disease, the dentist will also teach kids how to brush and floss correctly.

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