Maintaining your child’s healthy teeth is important

Reducing sweets for your child’s oral health.

Did you know that limiting sugary beverages and sweets for your young child can contribute to their overall oral health? According to the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, healthy teeth are needed for proper oral speech and for chewing. Michigan State University Extension encourages all parents and caregivers to practice the following tips for your child’s smile:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) My Plate recommends the following 10 tips to cut back your kids sweet treats:

  • Instead of sweets, substitute fruit as the everyday dessert.
  • Limit sweets for special occasions.
  • Limit the portion size of sweets by using smaller plates and bowls, or simply share a sweet.
  • Offer water, 100 percent juice or fat-free milk instead of sugary drinks like soda.
  • Make food fun! Cut up fruit into shapes and prepare snacks together.
  • Encourage your young child to invent new snacks using healthy choices.
  • Skip grocery lines that display candy.
  • Select cereals low in sugar.
  • Choose rewards for good  behaviors that don’t involve sweets, like stickers.
  • Don’t replace foods with sweets during meal time.

The oral health of your child is important at all stages. If your child is under age 8, be sure to help them brush their teeth. Make it a habit to brush your young child’s teeth twice a day, once in the morning when they wake up and once before bedtime. It is also important to seek regular dental care for your child. Most importantly, be a role model! Have your child watch you when brushing your teeth and speak to them about the importance of oral health.  

For additional tips, please reference A Healthy Smile For your Young Child. MSU Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. For more health and nutrition tips, visit

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