We want our young patients to understand that prevention is always better than cure. The most obvious way to prevent decay and gum disease is through regular and thorough brushing. However there are also a number of other factors which parents and children need to be aware of to help them maintain good oral health through to adulthood.
The first of these is diet which can have a huge impact on not only the health of teeth but also significantly impair your child’s general health and even shorten your child’s life. We offer comprehensive diet advice but a few things to bear in mind include:
- Avoid giving your infant processed foods and foods with a high sugar content for as long as possible. Make sure they learn to drink and develop a taste for plain water
- Make sure your own teeth are well maintained and get regular professional cleanings to avoid passing aggressive bacteria over to your small children
- Chew Xylitol gum regularly yourself to reduce the “bad” bacteria in your own mouth, this has been PROVEN to reduce your children’s risk of decay
- Incorporate tooth friendly foods in your child’s diet including Xylitol, products with high calcium etc
- Make sure your child breathes through his nose habitually. Mouth breathing is extremely detrimental to teeth, jaw development and gums
- Eat sweets as little as possible and when doing so, have a larger portion in one go rather than nibbling them throughout the day; drink juice and sweet drinks only with main meals and remember strong spices and herbs stimulate the production of saliva
Regular brushing not only removes food remnants but also dental plaque which is very damaging. Plaque is made up of bacteria and metabolic waste products. The bacteria multiply rapidly and as a sticky mass adhere to the teeth and aggressively produce acid. This acid then attacks the enamel of the teeth causing decay. If the dental plaque is removed regularly, the teeth will remain healthy.
Flossing is an excellent way of preventing decay as it gets deep in between the teeth where even the most proficient brusher can’t reach. And fluoride is also great as it makes the teeth resistant to acid attack and from bacteria.
Our hygienists are specially trained to teach children how to brush their teeth effectively. Here are a few pointers for starters:
Brush at least twice a day – after breakfast and before bedtime. If possible also brush after lunch and sweet snacks
Brush all the teeth, not just the front ones
Spend at least 2 or 3 minutes brushing
Use a brush with soft bristles
Change toothbrushes every three months
Get advice on your child’s specific anatomic and microbiological risk factors such as deep pits and fissures, tight teeth, unfavourable contact shapes between teeth in order to tailor your brushing techniques to their particular needs.