Monday, April 30, 2007

Cavities Increasing in Baby Teeth--New Study

A new study out today from the CDC ( shows that kids are getting more cavities earlier--bad news for the teeth of 2-5 year olds, 28% of whom have cavities. Dental experts fear that cavities in baby teeth may also mean more cavities in adult teeth. And, if teeth have to be extracted due to extensive decay, that can lead to overcrowding of adult teeth--and perhaps a higher chance of braces? (Braces? you don't want to go there if you can help it--best to learn more about how to take care of you baby's teeth!)

How Can You Prevent Cavities in Your Baby and Toddler?

Read the following excerpt from Baby Bites (available from

How Do Cavities Happen?
It’s a a simple equation: Sugar or starch + bacteria in the mouth + time = acid that destroys tooth enamel and makes a small hole or cavity.

How do you prevent cavities?

That’s relatively simple, too: If you remove any part of the equation, no cavities can
occur. Let’s look at the parts more closely.

Sugar and Starch
Sugars and cooked starches (collectively
called fermentable carbohydrates) are the
only foods that can cause cavities.

Sugar is the number one cavity-causing ingredient. Sticky sugars—caramel, gum,
dried fruit, toffee, taffy, and other chewy or sticky sweets—are especially bad. Because they stick to teeth, they provide an ongoing snack for bacteria. You also need to watch out for sweet drinks. Bacteria use added sugars
in beverages, like sucrose, very efficiently.

Sweet drinks like soda, lemonade, and sports drinks also contain acid, which contributesto cavity-making. Recent research shows that even cough syrups can causecavities because they’re both sweet and acidic.

Starchy foods like bread, potato chips, and pretzels are also cavity-causing.
Research shows that some starchy foods linger on the teeth longer than some typesof candy. Five minutes after eating, there are more food particles left in the mouth from plain donuts, potato chips, cookies, or saltine crackers than from caramel,milk chocolate, or milk chocolate–caramel bars.

The lead cavity-causing bacteria is Mutans streptococci. This bacteria converts the sugar in the mouth into acid. Chances are, this bacteria gets into your baby’s mouth courtesy of you! Mothers are the prime suspects in the transfer of salivary bacteria to babies’ mouths via shared utensils, food, and even kisses. If you have active or untreated cavities, or if you eat a lot of sugar, you’re at higher risk of transferring bacteria to your baby.

The best ways to reduce bacteria in your mouth are eating a healthy diet and practicing proper dental care--that is wiping the teeth with gauze or a baby toothbrush after your baby eats or drinks.

Some people are more prone to cavities than others because they tend to have more cavity-causing bacteria than others. This tendency has a genetic component: If mom and/or dad has more bacteria, their child probably will, too.

After bacteria converts sugar or starch in the mouth into acid, it takes twenty to forty minutes for saliva to neutralize or wash away the acid. So the more often you eat sugar or starch and the longer it stays on your teeth, the more acid bacteria can produce.

Dental Hygiene
See a tooth? Brush it. Then, see a dentist.
A consumer poll done by the Academy of General Dentistry showed that 70
percent of parents wait until their child is three years old to see a dentist. This is way too late! By this age, about 25 percent of kids will already have cavities. Even waiting until age two is too late—at this age, one out of every ten kids already has a cavity.

The best time to visit a dentist is within six months of your baby’s first tooth
appearing. This first visit is simple, educational, and friendly. The dentist usually discusses hygiene techniques and takes a quick look at your baby’s teeth while your baby sits on your lap.

From: Baby Bites, by Bridget Swinney MS, RD, Copyright 2007. Meadowbrook Press

Friday, April 27, 2007

Feeding the Family When It's Time to Go Back to Work

Going Back to Work with a New Baby at Home?
Here are some tips from Baby Bites to help you put good food on the table-fast!

In most families, even though moms put in
the same number of work hours as dads,
they still wear the chef’s hat (not to mention
many other domestic hats) at home.

The first few weeks may find you struggling to do
it all. Here are some tips to help you and
your family continue to eat healthfully.

• Call in favors: Remember all those friends
who said, “If you need anything, just
call…”? Now’s the time. Ask each of
them for a home-cooked meal the week
you go back to work.
• Recruit your partner: If possible, put your
partner in charge of as many meals as
possible. If you make a weekly menu and
plan easy-to-cook meals, even the most
hopeless kitchen klutz should be able to
manage this job.
• Give yourself a break: Plan to eat takeout
meals or have pizza delivered once
or twice a week.
• Use a Crock-Pot: Prep the food in the
evening, turn on the Crock-Pot the next
morning, and—voilà!—supper’s ready
when you get home from work. Plus, it’s
easy to make big batches in a Crock-
Pot. Freeze the extra food for later.
• Start a dinner co-op: Enlist one or two
friends who live close by. When you
cook, you make double or triple and
they pick their dinner up from you. In
return you get one or two great meals
with no cooking.
• Cook on weekends: Cook several meals
on the weekend. Double each recipe,
store the food in freezer containers, and
label each container with the contents
and date. In no time, you’ll have a
freezer full of meals.
• Shop with convenience in mind: Following
are just a few easy-to-cook meals
you can find at most grocery stores.
- Ready-made salads: Spinach is healthiest.
- Cooked, sliced chicken: This is a
versatile ingredient for many quick
- Frozen, cooked shrimp: It thaws quickly
for a shrimp cocktail, a main dish
salad, or prepared vegetable or minestrone
- Family-size deli meals: Many grocery
delis sell heat-and-serve lasagna
and other dishes. Or try family-size
frozen entrées.
- Dinner in a bag: Usually all you have to
add is meat.
- Veggie burgers: Enjoy a burger with all
your favorite fixings—and no guilt!

Copyright 2007. Baby Bites by Bridget Swinney MS, RD. Meadowbrook Press

A Note to Dads

Hey New Dad,

You're probably wondering where you fit into this picture of Mom and baby, especially if mom is breastfeeding.

Yep, for a while, her world will really revolve around the baby, but that doesn't mean you're out of the picture. Think about what you can do to help her provide the best nutrition possible, breastmilk, for your baby. There's plenty you can do!

  • Help her recuperate--they don't call it labor for nothin'! She'll probably appreciate it if you can cook a few meals, do the laundry (there will be lots more than usual!) and anything else to help around the house.
  • Bring her the baby. When it's time to nurse, help by bringing the baby to her. This will save a few steps and help her recuperate.
  • Change the baby--newborns poop almost every time they eat, so take on diaper duty. Your partner will certainly appreciate it!
  • Bring her water and snacks while she's nursing. Nursing moms need to drink and eat a lot-sometimes even more than during pregnancy. Good one handed snacks include: fresh blueberries, a fruit and yogurt smoothie (Stonyfield farms is one great brand), a small bean burrito, Kashi Granola or Go Lean Crunch Bars (tasty yet high in fiber)
  • Feed the baby. Once breastfeeding is well established, ask your wife if she would be willing to pump a little extra so that you can feed the baby. This will also help introduce your baby to a bottle--important if mom is going back to work. Most moms say not to wait past 6 weeks if this is the case, and don't do it before three weeks or you can cause "nipple confusion." Nipple confusion is not pretty--don't go there!
  • Smile and see the humor in the mounds of poopy diapers, spit-ups and middle of the night feedings.
  • Amid the chaos, take a minute for reflection. A new life is a wonderful gift, but realize that sometimes it takes time to adapt!

Changing a Diaper, Baseball Style

How to Change an Old-Fashioned
Cloth Diaper: For Baseball Fans

Spread the diaper in the position of the
diamond with you at bat. Then fold second
base down to home and set the
baby on the pitcher’s mound. Put first
base and third together, bring up home
plate, and pin the three together.

Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the
game and start all over again.

Jimmy Piersall, former major-league

When Nannies and Grannies Take Care of Your Baby

When someone else takes care of your little one, leave nothing to chance! Here's a blurb from Baby Bites about giving instructions to caregivers...

Giving Instructions

The best way to make sure your baby is fed the way you want is to leave nothing to
doubt! It’s best to have bottles of breast milk or formula prepared in advance and in
the refrigerator. Give a list of clear feeding instructions, including:
• When your baby might be hungry
• Your baby’s usual signs of hunger and fullness
• How long a bottle can be left at room temperature safely
• Special instructions, if you have any (for burping, positioning, and so on)
• If your baby is eating solids, a list of foods your baby can and can’t eat

Copyright 2007 Baby Bites by Bridget Swinney MS, RD, Meadowbrook Press