Life is busy for parents. At times we skip some important health routines because we are tired and looking for the ‘quick fix’ options. The issue with this surrounding dental health is that skipping our daily oral hygiene routine and choosing ‘on the run’ foods means we are increasing our risk of tooth decay for the whole family.
Baby teeth are important. There is a common misconception that decay in baby teeth doesn’t matter. However, baby teeth do a number of amazing things, and sadly a dental infection in a baby tooth is just as painful as in an adult tooth.
There are easy ways to take care of your child’s teeth. Make sure to brush them every morning after breakfast and just before bed until they are at least 8 years old. Use fluoride toothpaste (from 2 years old) with a soft toothbrush. Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have all of their baby teeth (approx. 2 years of age) and start dental visits from 12 months old. Ensure their diet is low in sugary and acidic foods and drinks. If bottles are used past 12 months of age then they shouldn’t have anything in them during the night except for water.
It’s really important that as your children get older, you are limiting ‘snack foods’ in their daily diet. Sticky cereals, sugary spreads, juice and so much more, have A LOT of hidden sugars and should only be given as a ‘special treat’. Fruit in large quantities daily can damage the enamel on your child’s teeth, so juice should not be given to your child every day. Additionally, always encourage your child to drink water and plain milk as much as possible to keep their teeth strong. Try and set a good example of this too.
Lastly, when doing your groceries, have a look at the nutritional panel on the packaging and aim to keep sugar content under 20%. Or, even better, under 10%. Remember, you control their diet because you do the groceries. Have a good look in your cupboard, fridge and trolley and make healthy choices.
For more hints and tips on your children’s oral health check out http://www.activelittlesmiles.com. To book your child’s next dental appointment contact 1300 764 537 or online via http://www.1300smiles.com.au
STORY Leah Smith Oral Health Therapist 1300SMILES Mackay