In our society, there is a continuous challenge to reduce tooth decay and extraction rates within children. The NHS figures reveal that 6.9 million children have visited the dentist in the past year. Tooth decay in children is costing the health service around £50 million a year. Figures show that in 2018, 5 million children have not had a dental check-up in the past 12 months, parents have been urged to take their children to regular appointments in order to prevent tooth decay.
Parents want the best health for their children, oral health should be no different. By introducing your child to good oral hygiene habits at an early age, will help ensure they keep their own teeth for life.
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of your teeth). Major causes of tooth decay are caused by consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks. The more sugar your child consumes, the more acid. The acid and sugar combine with the bacteria in your mouth causing plaque. Plaque weakens the enamel of your teeth leaving your child vulnerable to decay.
Are children addicted to sugar?
Over the past five years, over 322 children under the age of 10 have had all their teeth removed due to tooth decay, where too much sugar caused them to rot away. This preventable disease remains the leading cause of hospital admissions for children in the UK.
A recent news story from www.dentistry.com informs us that most children have exceeded their sugar intake of an 18 year old, by the time they reach 10 years old; they are consuming 8 more cubes of sugar each day than is recommended.
A change in diet is extremely beneficial when trying to tackle and prevent tooth decay, by making substitutes each day you could significantly reduce your child’s daily intake of sugar. As well as preventing tooth decay, a change in diet will help protect your child from obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Having a balanced diet has an impact on Oral Health
When making substitutes for sugar you could start by replacing bars of chocolate with pieces of fruit, high fibre cereal bars or low-fat, no-added sugar yoghurts and swapping fizzy drinks for water or flavoured water. However, it isn’t all about cutting out sugar, as natural sugars are needed for balanced diets – natural sugars are found in fresh fruit and vegetables (Fructose).
When putting together a balanced diet for your child, it should contain high amounts of fresh vegetables and fruit, vegetables more so, as they are high in nutrients. Wholegrain’s such as brown bread and pasta, lean meat and fish for protein and nuts and seeds should all be included. If your child is vegetarian, vegan or has Coeliac Disease, there are a lot of plant-based products high in protein and nutrients used as a substitute for meat and Gluten based foods.
It’s important to remember, your child should eat at a reasonable time to help speed up their metabolism. Eating later at night causes a slower metabolism rate, which means foods high in fats and carbohydrates and starch are more than likely to be stored as fat.
Children need to be informed of the impact of sugar and acidic foods have on their teeth and gums, this way they may be more obliged to change their dental habits themselves instead of feeling like it’s a chore.
No child wants their teeth to rot away and fall out, as a parent it is your responsibility to introduce good health routines into their daily life.
Here’s a few daily steps and tips on how to reduce the risk of tooth decay and erosion:-
- You should start cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they come through the gums. There are specialist toothbrushes and toothpastes for babies.
- If your child is less than three years old, only use a smear of toothpaste. After that, use an amount about the size of a pea.
- Teach your children to brush at least twice a day (morning and night) with fluoride toothpaste and to floss often.
- Take your child to the dentist regularly (every 6 or 12 months).
- Limit or avoid certain sugary foods and drinks.
- Supervise your child when they are brushing their teeth until they are at least 7yrs old.
- Encourage your child to spit out toothpaste and not rinse with water, as this reduces the effect of the fluoride.
To help prevent tooth decay or to reduce its effects, Fluoride treatments are recommended. If your child’s cavity is at an early stage, fluoride can restore the tooth’s enamel and can sometimes reverse the cavity. Although, if your child’s cavity is at a later and more severe stage, it may result in your child having a filling or having the decayed tooth extracted.
To ensure your child is able to visit the Dentist, we offer out of school hour appointments. For more information on Caring for your Child’s Dental Health please contact Mark Tangri Dental Excellence today on 0333 1234 999.