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A blog with advice and tips on keeping children’s teeth healthy
The importance of children’s teeth cannot be understated, and it is recognised by the Oral Health Foundation that good oral health can be achieved by the following:
Giving our children a great start to life as far as their teeth are concerned is relatively simple and by following three simple steps as highlighted by the Oral Health Foundation can really ensure that our children’s teeth stay healthy for years to come.
1. Get started early
As soon as a child’s “baby teeth” begin to appear, cleaning their teeth twice a day will help them get used to having a toothbrush in their mouth and start the process of getting them into a good routine. To begin with, using a piece of clean cloth wrapped around your finger might be easier. When more teeth begin to emerge, you can switch to a baby toothbrush.
Another part of getting children on the right path early is taking them to the dentist as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to bring them along with you to your dental appointments, even at a very young age. It allows them to get used to the sights, sounds and smells in an unfamiliar environment. Letting your children attend appointments with you is a fantastic way of making sure they don’t grow up wanting to put off their visits to the dentist in the future.
A nationwide campaign, called Dental Check by One, launched by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry, in partnership with the Office of the Chief Dental Officer England which aims to increase the number of children who access dental care aged 0-2 years.
A good oral health routine at a young age allows children to build habits that they can take into later life and have a far better chance of keeping their adult teeth as healthy as possible.
2. Toothbrushing and fun
Using a fluoride toothpaste is just as important for children, as it is for adults. It’s a huge benefit to our dental health because it strengthens tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay – a huge problem millions of children in the UK currently suffer from that can be completely avoided.
For children up to age three it is best to use a smear of toothpaste with 1000ppm (parts per million) fluoride followed by a pea sized blob of 1350ppm fluoride toothpaste for older children. Many toothpastes have the recommended ages on their labelling so finding the right one is usually quite straightforward.
Getting children involved in looking after their oral health can sometimes be challenging, one simple way of doing this can be getting them to choose their own toothbrush. Take them to the supermarket to see if they want one with their favourite character on, it can help them to get excited about brushing their teeth.
When you’ve got the right toothbrush and toothpaste, make sure that children are brushing for two minutes last thing at night before they go to bed and at least one other time during the day.
Doing this is a lot easier if you try your best to make brushing an enjoyable experience for your children. You can do it by using songs, reward charts and games, there are also mobile apps which they can brush along to as part of a game or in time with their favourite song. Hopefully what you will begin to see as time goes on is that it will become an instinctive part of their day and eventually you won’t even have to remind them! It is recommended that children are supervised while brushing their teeth until they are seven years old.
3. Beware of sugary foods and drinks
Every single time we have anything containing sugar, our teeth are under attack for around an hour.
A big mistake that the Oral Health Foundation has found is that many parents let their children have a sugary drink or snack right before they brush their teeth and go to sleep. Our saliva flow reduces when we sleep and teeth will remain under attack for even longer. It may seem to make sense to brush straight away but try to avoid this. Since the acid formed when sugar meets the bacteria in dental plaque weakens the enamel (top surface of the teeth) brushing straight away can cause even more damage because you’d be brushing away the weakened surface. It is recommended that we give their teeth time to recover and then allow them to brush with a fluoride toothpaste right before they go to sleep.
In summary as you can see the Oral Health Foundation highlights the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, regular dental visits and brushing teeth twice daily will give our children the best chance of preventing oral health problems like gum disease and decay later on in life.