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The health of children’s teeth in Britain is getting worse. According to recent figures, each year around 30,000 children aged ten and under have a decayed tooth removed. What’s more, this figure is rising by about 3% each year.
Given the state of children’s teeth, we’ve come up with a few tips for parents on how to keep their children’s teeth healthy.
- Avoid giving sweets to children. This is obvious but still bears repeating: sweets aren’t good for teeth. The sugar in sweets is basically food for bacteria that in turn create plaque and cavities. Therefore, don’t give sweets to children too often.
- Give healthy snacks. Instead of giving sweets to children, give healthy snacks instead. Some ideas for healthy snacks are carrot sticks, toast, rice cakes, and plain popcorn. Fruit and vegetables are good too – bananas, tangerines, apples and cucumber are all great. But do go sparingly with dried fruit as it’s high in sugar.
- Use sugar-free medicine. Some medicines contain sugar to make them more palatable to children. But of course, this isn’t good because sugar can lead to plaque. This why sugar-free medications are a better alternative. So, if your child is taking long-term medication, ask your doctor about whether the medication is sugar-free.
- Wean your baby off her dummy. Although dummies are reassuring to small children, they also encourage an open bite, which is where teeth move aside to make room for the dummy. This is why you should wean your baby off his dummy by the age of twelve months.
- Don’t give sugary drinks at bedtime. Don’t give your child milk, milkshakes or hot chocolate at bedtime. These drinks are bad because they will sit on the teeth during the night and can lead to dental decay. Water is the only thing your child should be drinking at night.
- Make brushing fun. Brushing doesn’t have to be a chore for your child. There are lots of cool toothbrushes available, including tv show themed toothbrushes and toothbrushes that play music.
- Brush together. Children learn best by example, which means you need to show them how to brush their teeth. Try brushing your teeth at the same time as your children so they can see how their parents do it.
- Use disclosing tablets. You might remember disclosing tablets from when you were a child – they’re the things that stain your teeth blue where you haven’t brushed them enough. We recommend disclosing tables because kids love seeing their teeth turn blue and it’s an effective way to show children where they need to brush better.
- Take your baby to the dentist. You might think that babies are too young to see a dentist. However, it actually helps get them used to the sights, smells and sounds and therefore will make future appointments much easier.
- Take your child to the dentist for frequent check-ups. If you’re not following the nine tips above then your children’s teeth are bound to get cavities sooner or later. At least take your child for frequent dental check-ups to catch problems before they get worse. If you’re looking for a dentist in Cradley Heath, Birmingham, then why not try Benson Dental Practice? We don’t want to blow our own trumpet, but we’re great at working with kids :-).