Tooth decay in young children is largely preventable and yet it is increasingly becoming a problem. As dentists, we see more and more cases of under-fives with poor oral health regimes and this is very worrying when you consider that getting into good habits as a child will set you and your teeth up for a healthy future.
Recently it was revealed that the number of children under the age of four being hospitalised with dental problems was on the rise. Data obtained by the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) revealed tooth extractions in the under-fours had increased by almost a quarter in the last ten years. Findings from Public Health England’s (PHE) 2015 national dental epidemiology survey of 5-year-old children backed this up by revealing that one in four 5-year olds had experienced tooth decay.
Whilst it would be wrong to point the finger of blame, especially as those areas with the worst dental health tend to be more deprived local authority areas, there’s no disguising that poor oral health will impact children in more ways than one.
With children going back to school this week, and many starting in full time education for the first time, the pressure is on to assure the wellbeing of these little ones, and tooth pain is one worry they can do without.
To help all parents of under-fives ensure the best oral health for their children, we’ve compiled these top tips:
- Start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through
- Use the correct amount of toothpaste – a smear for children under 3 and a pea shaped amount for children between three and six years of age.
- Brush your child’s teeth for two minutes, twice a day – once before bed and at one other time, usually in the morning
- Bring your child along to the dentist as early as possible, ideally from when their first milk teeth appear, as it will help them get used to the environment.
- Limit sugary foods and snacks and remember that even savoury foods such as shop-bought pasta sauces can contain high amounts of sugar.
Brushing your teeth can be fun
Of course, it helps if you can make tooth brushing fun, so why not:
- Use an egg timer to mark out the two minutes you need to clean your child’s teeth effectively
- Give your child a toothbrush to play with so they can pretend to brush their toys’ teeth
- Keep a tooth brushing diary and let your child add a sticker each time they have brushed their teeth
At Riverside Dental Spa we offer quality dental care to children of all ages. Our focus on preventative dentistry means we can help your children develop good brushing habits for life, minimising the need for fillings and treatment in the future. Call us today on 020 7091 0677 to book an appointment or find out more.