Dentist Offers Healthy Dental Tips for Kids for National Children’s Dental Health Month

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February is National Children's Dental Health Month and dentist Dr. Michael Sherman offers tips for parents to help keep their kids' teeth healthy.

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"Read labels and plan carefully for a balanced, nutritious diet for your and your kids," said Michael Sherman, DDS.

Many parents will issue a common refrain at dinnertime tonight: “You’d better eat that--it’s good for you!” There’s another old favorite, too, among parents trying to keep their kids' teeth healthy: “Don’t eat that—it’ll rot your teeth!” Now more than ever, kids are faced with a bewildering array of food choices -- from fresh produce to sugar-laden processed convenience meals and snack foods. What children eat and when they eat it may affect not only their general health, but also their oral health.

American kids are consuming foods and drinks high in sugar and starches more often and in larger portions than ever before. It’s clear that “junk” foods and drinks gradually have replaced nutritious beverages and foods for many people. For example, the average teenage boy in the U.S. consumes 81 gallons of soft drinks each year!. Alarmingly, a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks can ruin teeth, especially among those who snack throughout the day. Common activities may contribute to the tendency toward tooth decay. These include grazing regularly on foods with little nutritional value, and frequently sipping on sugary drinks.

“When sugar is consumed over and over again in large, often hidden amounts, the harmful effect on teeth can be dramatic,” says Dr. Michael Sherman, an Orange Park dentist. “Sugar on teeth provides food for bacteria, which produce acid. The acid in turn can eat away the enamel on teeth.”

Almost all foods have some type of sugar that cannot and should not be eliminated from our diets, Dr. Sherman notes. “Many of these foods contain important nutrients and add enjoyment to eating. But there is a risk for tooth decay from a diet high in sugars and starches. Starches can be found in everything from bread to pretzels to salad dressing, so read labels and plan carefully for a balanced, nutritious diet for you and your kids.”

Dr. Sherman offers families these tips to help reduce children’s risk of tooth decay:

  •  Sugary foods and drinks should be consumed along with meals. Saliva production increases during meals and helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.
  •  Limit between-meal snacks. If kids crave a snack, offer them nutritious foods.
  •  If your kids chew gum, make it sugarless – Chewing sugarless gum after eating can

increase saliva flow and help wash out food and decay-producing acid.

  •  Monitor beverage consumption – Instead of soft drinks all day, children should also

choose water and low-fat milk.

  •  Help your children develop good brushing and flossing habits.

 Schedule regular dental visits.

Michael Sherman, DDS, is a family dentist practicing at Park Avenue Dental in Orange Park. He and his staff are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art technology in a comfortable patient environrment. For more information, contact Park Avenue Dental at (904) 269-5520 or visit

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Kimberly Deppe

Dr. Michael Sherman
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