The Oreo Test; Ways to Help Kids’ Oral Health

The Oreo Test; Ways to Help Kids' Oral Health
By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, Feb. 1, 2022 (HealthDay News)

(HealthDay News) — If you’re looking for a way to feel better, Are you concerned that your child is not brushing his or her teeth properly? You might want to put the Oreo test to the test.

“If a child eats an Oreo and brushes their teeth, and the parent can still see the Oreos, they should inspect and assist them in brushing,” said Elise Sarvas, a clinical associate professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of Minnesota.

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, Sarvas gives the Oreo test and other oral health tips.

Sarvas stated, “The mouth is an integral aspect of the body.” “Good oral health lays the foundation for many important milestones for children, including getting adequate nutrition to grow healthy bodies, having teeth to learn how to pronounce syllables correctly, holding space for developing jaws, and establishing self-esteem at a critical period of self-development.”

Parents should make sure their children eat healthy snacks, receive enough fluoride, and drink plenty of water to keep their mouths healthy, according to Sarvas.

Water not only hydrates children, but it also strengthens their teeth and is a healthier alternative to juice or soda, according to Sarvas.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children consume no more than 4 ounces of juice per day, and the average juice box is 6 ounces,” Sarvas said, adding that “fresh fruits and vegetables, deli meat, and cheeses” are good snack options.

Parents should not underestimate how difficult brushing teeth can be for children who are still developing motor skills, according to Sarvas.

“I used to say that kids require supervision until they can write their names in cursive,” Sarvas explained, “but now that kids aren’t taught that anymore, I say until they can tie their shoes on their own, which displays good motor control.” “We all look forward to the independence that comes with growing up – it’s fantastic for youngsters to start brushing on their own, but parents should always double-check for any missed places.”

The best toothbrush for any child, according to Sarvas, is the one they’ll actually use, but softer bristles are better for dental health.

“Soft bristles fit more easily to the various grooves in teeth, preventing gum damage,” Sarvas explained.

Because not all children enjoy the sensation of using an electric toothbrush, Sarvas advises using one only if you’re confident your child will accept it.

“The most important thing is to brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. There are a variety of tastes available now, so select one that your child like the most “Sarvas said.

Finally, following what Sarvas refers to as the child’s “dental age one” — either their first tooth or their first birthday — parents should take their child to the dentist for the first time.

“This gives us plenty of time to counsel the family, monitor their growth and development, and provide general education,” added Sarvas. “You also want to build a dental home for kids so that if problems arise later, families know where to go other than the emergency room, which isn’t always assist and can be quite expensive.”

Additional information

More dental health advice for kids can be found at the American Dental Association.

Elise Sarvas, DDS, MSD, MPH, clinical associate professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of Minnesota, is the author of this article.