Getting kids to brush properly can be a parenting nightmare, but it’s worth getting right as the cost of dental procedures skyrocket…
There are 6 things you can do to help look after their teeth:
- Ditch the bottle Letting a baby or toddler drift off to sleep with a juice-filled baby bottle in their mouth is a bad idea. Fluid pools in the front of the mouth, causing protracted exposure of the teeth to sugar, leading to decay of the teeth. Stick to water over sweet drinks. If you must give juice, always dilute it, weakening the concentration over time.
- Meet the dentist From the age of two, take your child to the dentist every six months, even if no problems present. Ask friends for referrals of dentists who specialise in children.
- Sugar sessions Instead of allowing your child to eat a packet of sweets throughout the day, leading to all-day sugar exposure, encourage them to have the sweets in one sitting. Sugar does not eat into the teeth, the problem is caused by incorrect or no brushing after the sugar.
- Choose snacks wisely The fibre in fruit can help clean teeth, whereas chocolates and toffees stick to teeth. Cheese is also a good choice. Food that needs a lot of chewing will produce more saliva, which helps clean teeth. Save sugar snacks for home, where the kids are able to brush afterwards. Encourage them to drink water, to help cleanse the mouth.
- Watch the acid: Very sweet and acidic foods result in weakened enamel immediately after eating. Encourage the kids to wait half an hour before brushing, say after eating an orange or enjoying a fruit salad. Saliva contains fluoride and minerals, and will help strengthen the enamel during this time.
- Pay attention during pregnancy: A baby’s teeth start forming at around three months in utero, so taking pre-natal vitamin supplements that contain calcium is vital. Certain medications taken during pregnancy have the ability to discolour a baby’s milk teeth. Check with your GP and ask about fluoride supplements for extra protection.