tooth decay in children

We’ve just had Black Friday, the Bristol Christmas markets have opened, and festive adverts are everywhere… that can only mean one thing, Christmas is coming. Here at CK Dental, we love getting into the festive spirit, but take our duty as dental professionals very seriously. Each year, we try to ensure that our patients strike the right balance between enjoying festive indulgence and looking after their teeth effectively. It doesn’t have to mean you can’t enjoy the things you love, it is more a case of recognising the worst offenders and ensuring you keep your teeth and gums as healthy and clean as possible.

KNOW YOUR ENEMIES

It is a common misconception that some of the festive favourites aren’t as bad as we might think because they contain fruit. For the likes of Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding, this is far from the truth. These puddings all contain a lot of dried fruit, which is packed with sugar. They are also notoriously sticky, which means the sugar is likely to remain on your teeth for longer.

EVERYTHING IN MODERATION

Part of the fun of this time of year is passing around the chocolate box, having another slice of cake, unwrapping another chocolate orange or indulging in more sweet drinks, but it is easy to eat and drink for the sake of it. If you’re full, feeling lethargic or just conscious of how many calories you’re consuming, take a break from it. Say no thank you to the treats. Your teeth (and no doubt your waistline) will thank you for your restraint.

DON’T FORGET GOOD DENTAL HABITS

They say that a routine is hard to establish and easy to break, and that can certainly be the case for adults and children alike when the family is off school and work over Christmas, and our usual routines are disrupted. Making sure that children are still brushing their teeth first thing in the morning and last thing before bed is crucial. Sometimes more often than that if you’re aware that you have eaten a great deal of sugary food/drink. We may be up at strange times and going to bed later than usual but making time to keep caring for our teeth is really important.

 

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from us all at CK Dental.

Children, like adults, should be brushing their teeth twice a day right from when the very first milk teeth make an appearance. Although they will need help to begin with, establishing a good brushing routine is setting young children up with a good dental hygiene routine from a young age, and will help ensure their teeth and gums remain healthy.

According to recent research undertaken by StemProtect.co.uk, this isn’t happening, with findings suggesting that less than one-third of children are in fact brushing their teeth regularly enough. Dentists are worried that this pattern means a generation of young people could be exposing themselves to a heightened risk of dental problems later in life.

The research study involved 600 families in the UK, and indicates that there are big gaps in the regularity that young children are brushing their teeth:

  • Proportion of 2 to 4-year olds who brush their teeth once per day – 60%
  • Proportion of 4 to 8-year olds who brush their teeth once per day – 70%

This is exacerbated by an alarming number of parents who claimed not to know how long their children were brushing their teeth for – with around eight in ten parents unaware how long their children were spending brushing their teeth. Here at CD Dental, we advocate using a timer for this, and ensuring that children use this as part of the fun of brushing their teeth. The timer could be set to music, or there are a number of apps that can be downloaded for free that give children an indication of how long to brush for.

According to the study, only 3% of parents were using a timer, and this is one of the easiest ways to ensure you have confidence in the duration children are brushing for. Depending on what resonates with your children, there are other creative techniques available too, such as reward charts and a bit of gentle bribery… although using treats like stories as the rewards, not sweets or chocolate.

A spokesperson for StemProtect, Anne Edwards, summarised the concern that this report has raised: “Younger children tend to be more resistant to tooth brushing, but caring for your teeth is a lifelong job. Not brushing regularly can lead to gum disease, which has been proven to have a number of serious health risks associated, including cardiovascular disease. Parents may think their children will look after their own oral hygiene once they’re old enough to brush, but it’s not worth leaving to chance.”


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Get In Touch

Email: info@ckdental.co.uk

Telephone: 0117 9059 866

CK Dental | Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital – The Chesterfield, 3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN