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Giving children the right start in life is crucial for their development. This applies to their oral health too. To help parents, education workers and carers give children the best oral health, it’s worth taking note of the following facts and tips:

  1. Around a third of children at the ages of 5 and 12 have visible signs of tooth decay.
  2. The main cause of toothache in children is tooth decay.
  3. It is not the amount of sweets consumed that causes tooth decay – it is how often they are eaten.
  4. Sugar causes the bacteria in plaque to produce acids.  It is these acids which attack children’s tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.
  5. Every time children eat or drink anything sugary, their teeth are under attack for upto one hour.
  6. Saliva plays a major role in neutralising acids in the children’s mouth
  7. Giving children 7-10 snack attacks during the day means their teeth are constantly under attack
  8. Alkaline foods like cheese or milk can help to neutralise the build-up of acid in children’s mouths.
  9. Dried fruits are high in sugar and are not necessarily a healthier option for children’s teeth.
  10. For a healthy diet the NHS advises that children’s sugar intake is limited to around 33g per day.

Tips for parents

It’s never too early to start a good oral health routine, so caring for your child’s teeth is vital.

child with appleStarting out: 0 to 16 months

Even before your baby starts teething, you can clean your baby’s mouth using specially designed baby dental wipes. This will help to reduce bacteria and encourage a healthy environment for baby teeth when they do appear. Massaging the gums in this way will also help your baby as teething begins, sometime between six months and one year of age.

Getting to grips: 10 months to 3 years

You should begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as their first tooth appears. Use a baby toothbrush with soft bristles and an adult-sized handle, combined with a smear of suitable toothpaste containing a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm. Toddlers can then be given their own chewable toothbrushes to help them get into the habit of cleaning their teeth early on.

Onwards and upwards: 3 to 6 years

All baby teeth are usually present by the age of three, and by this time your child should start trying to brush their own teeth using a pea-sized blob of of toothpaste with a fluoride level of between 1350ppm and 1500ppm. Your child should now start seeing the dentist regularly to make sure that any potential problems are identified before they develop.

Visiting the dental practice from a young age will also help your child to establish a positive relationship with their dentist and their dental team, and get used to the practice environment.

Up and running: 6 years onwards

By the age of six or seven, adult teeth will have started to erupt. For this reason, it’s especially important that sugary food and drink is avoided if possible.

Children should continue using the right toothpaste for their age, with a fluoride level of between 1350ppm and 1500ppm. Brushing should still be supervised by an adult every day until children are over seven years old and you’re sure they’re doing it correctly.

Take special care of children with braces – make sure their braces are cleaned thoroughly.

Healthy, happy smiles

How to choose the right snacks for kids kid with lunchbox

Choosing the right healthy snacks for your children or grandchildren can be tricky sometimes, especially as some ‘healthy’ foods might actually be harmful to their teeth. Here are some tips for meals and snacks that will help to keep children – and teeth – happy!

Make it fun

Tooth-friendly savoury sandwiches filled with lean meat, cheese spread or marmite are always popular with children. Cutting sandwiches into appealing shapes such as stars, hearts, or circles can be fun for kids

In between meals

Nuts, low-sugar yogurts, breadsticks, and hummus with cucumber, raw pepper, carrot and celery sticks make great snacks in between meals.

Say cheese!

Cheese is full of calcium and also helps neutralises acid in the mouth, which helps to reduce tooth decay. Encourage your child to eat a little snack-sized piece of cheese after meals

What to drink

Swap fizzy drinks for water or milk, and avoid fruit juices and smoothies as they contain a lot of naturally-occurring sugar and acid. If your children have these, offer them during mealtimes only and dilute them one part juice to one part water. Drinking through a straw can help reduce contact with teeth, too

Raisin’ hell

Avoid snacking on sticky dried fruits such as raisins and apricots in between meals as they contain a lot of natural sugar and can cling to the teeth for a long time

What’s inside?

Be wary of products specifically aimed for children’s lunchboxes and always check the labels before you buy. They often state that they’re free from additives, colours and artificial flavours but may well be full of hidden salt and sugar

Source : Denplan