It’s no secret, especially not to us. Most kids love sticky, gooey, chocolatey, and altogether fun foods. The only problem is that these foods are anything but fun for kids’ teeth (and dentists). Plaque, the stuff that leads to cavities and discoloration of the teeth, forms with the help of bacteria in the mouth. When sugar is present in the mix, that plaque becomes sticky itself and bonds to the teeth. This build-up of sticky plaque leaves teeth looking discolored no matter how many times you tell your child to go brush his or her teeth. Don’t worry, though. There are a number of ways you can help your child get whiter teeth, but whatever you do, don’t tell your child. This list is your ultimate cheat sheet, remember. 1. Regular Dentist Visits
If your child is age 1 or older, he or she should see the dentist ever six months to once a year. With regular visits, we’re able to clean your child’s teeth and remove any of that sticky build-up.
2. Regular Brushing
If it takes doing somersaults, sticker charts, barter sessions, or even threats, it’s worth it. Brushing EFFECTIVELY, at least twice a day, is one of the most important steps to help get your kid’s teeth white. And yes, parents, that means you may need to get hands on and do the brushing for the little ones. The practice of brushing regularly removes sugar and starch that causes plaque build-up.3. Daily Flossing
We’re asking a lot here, right? Well, if you want your child’s teeth white, this is the way to do it. Flossing helps remove plaque and prevent tartar, the hard stuff on teeth that makes them appear yellowish. Daily flossing helps prevent tartar and remove plaque so teeth are white and sparkling.4. A New Toothbrush
Don’t think it makes a difference? Consider this. If your child is using an old toothbrush, he or she is simply brushing bacteria back onto his or her teeth, and remember, we already talked about what bacteria causes…
5. Whitening Toothpaste
No, whitening toothpastes aren’t just for us old people. These pastes work because they contain special polishing agents that gently buff surface stains off of teeth. If your child has light surface stains, this is the great option for safely removing discoloration.6. Extra Cheese
Yes, you read that right. We’re suggesting extra cheese as a way to whiten your child’s developing teeth. Okay, so it’s not the cheese that really matters. It’s what is in the cheese. This dairy product contains large amounts of the all-important nutrient calcium, which helps keep your child’s teeth white and strong. It also helps fight cavities, so the next time your child asks for more cheese, just say yes. 7. A Diet Change
No more sugar, no more fun, no more chewing…No, really, you don’t have to go that drastic. But, what you can do is limit your child’s intake of sugar and increase his or her consumption of “detergent” foods. Foods like carrots, celery, and even popcorn are stiff and crisp, so they help clean your child’s teeth as he or she eats them. Make these foods a final food in a meal to do a little mid-day cleansing when brushing isn’t an option.8. Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips
If your child has all of his or her permanent AND you are not considering orthodontic treatment in the foreseeable future, you may consider purchasing some over-the-counter whitening strips. These strips typically contain hydrogen peroxide, which can gradually whiten/bleach the teeth and result in less (if any) sensitivity.
If you’ve tried other options with no success, you may want to look into the option of whitening trays. This option is available through your dentist. The trays are filled with 10 percent carbamide peroxide, and your child will have to sleep with the tray inserts in for roughly four weeks. (Again, only go this route if your child has all of his or her permanent AND you are not considering orthodontic treatment in the foreseeable future.) 10. In-Office Bleaching
In-office bleaching is one of the most progressive whitening options. The process involves coating your child’s gums with a protective solution and then applying a whitening solution of 15 to 35 percent hydrogen peroxide. After application, the solution is sealed by using a heat laser. No, this isn’t some sort of torture, it’s actually a relatively simple process. However, you’ll only want to go this route if your child is in need of immediate whitening attention as sensitivity is very common and the outcome is sudden instead of gradual. (Once again, only go this route if your child has all of his or her permanent AND you are not considering orthodontic treatment in the foreseeable future.)
Now, take your list and go hide it. Your child will be more agreeable to your teeth-whitening tirade if he or she doesn’t know what you are doing. Oh, and by the way, the cheat sheet will work for whitening your teeth, too.