What is it with kids and brushing their teeth? Either they don’t want to do it, or they rush. From time to time, I takeover and do it for my kids for a day or so. I guess two minutes must seem like an eternity in their little life. Honestly, electric toothbrushes work best for us. Additionally, they have an annual dental check. During our last visit, the dentist advised that if the kids have sweets it should be after a meal not during snack time. We are not always good at sticking to the programme. I was pleased when, they had a visit from the Oral Health Promotion Team at school, recently. They brought home a pamphlet which had really interesting facts.
Let’s talk about sugar! As a parent we try to be careful about the amount of sugar the kids consume. After all, who wants to have sugar crazed hipper kids with bath teeth, right? However, they do have the odd lollipop and chocolate (but fresh fruit and veg, bread sticks, crackers and rice cakes are best between meals). Packed lunches for day trips usually include a Capri Sun or Fruit Shoot, that’s OK isn’t it? Well, here’s the thing; Haribo Starmix 215g (22 ½ tsp approx.), My 5 Fruit Shoot Apple and blackcurrant 300ml (4tsp approx.), Capri-Sun 200ml (4tsp approx.), Ribena 500ml (11tsp approx)
The problem is ‘total amount of sugar consumed from all food and drink in a day should not exceed 5 ½ tsp (24g for 7-10years) ad 4 tsp (19g for 4-6 years). Shockingly only milk and water are safe for teeth.* Angelo drew what he learnt from the dental team’s vist
To combat the naughty habits, let me share some tips from Dr Mihir Shah’s, Head Dentist at Battersea Park Dental. Dr Shah is a supporter of the #TeethTalk campaign I blogged about earlier this year.
- Use fluoride toothpaste*
Fluoride is important to protect teeth against decay and can also help reverse the early signs of decay. Children should use toothpaste containing 1,000 parts per million (ppm) until they are 3 years old, and between 1,350-1,550 ppm after the age of 3. Use a small smear of toothpaste and be sure they don’t swallow it.
- Spit and don’t rinse.
After brushing, encourage children to spit the toothpaste out but not to rinse their mouth with water. Leaving the layer of toothpaste on their teeth will make the fluoride more effective.
- Don’t forget to floss
As soon as two baby teeth start to touch, it is important to clean between them. Use floss at least once a day.
- Avoid raisins and other dried fruits
Raisins and dried fruits are packed full of fruit sugars. Due to their sticky texture, they tend to get trapped between teeth and, if left, can cause decay.
- Stop bottle feeding early
Try to wean your baby off bottle feeding as soon as they can handle drinking from a cup. Prolonged bottle feeding, especially with sugary liquids and at night, can significantly increase chances of tooth decay.
I hope the tips help. If you have clever ways to get your little ones to care for their teeth, do share your tips with us. Please, comment below.
*Department of Health