You may have seen in the news recently that Professor Hunt, dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ dental faculty, has commented on the number of children needing extractions:
“Almost 26,000 general anaesthetics are being given to five to nine-year-old children every year to have teeth out now.” In some cases this is leading to long waiting lists leaving children in pain. Clearly something needs to be done to keep waiting lists to a minimum, but what can we do to help our children to avoid decay in the first place?
Here are our top tips:
- Consuming sugary or acidic food and drink can lead to decay or acid erosion. For teeth it’s the frequency, not the amount consumed, that is the problem so try to keep to meal times only.
- Even fruit juices contain sugar so should be kept to meal times and any fizzy drinks, including sugar free varieties, are acidic so can cause damage. The best drinks for between meals are water or milk.
- Try to avoid babies and toddlers forming a bedtime, or naptime habit of lying with a bottle containing milk or formula. Although milk is generally a good choice for teeth, constant sipping can lead to decay. Water is the only safe drink to constantly sip.
- If your child wants a snack (as they all do!) then try to stick to something savoury or with natural sugar, like fruit, rather than sweets and follow with milk or cheese to neutralize the acid which causes the damage. In fact cheese is a good snack choice for teeth as it won’t lead to any decay.
- Brush teeth twice a day (ideally in the morning and last thing before bed). Here on the Wirral you can use standard adult toothpaste with 1450ppm of fluoride for the whole family. For other areas you should check with your dentist for the local recommendations as it depends on the level of fluoride in the water.
- Visit the dentist regularly so that any problems can be picked up.
Get in touch if you want to book an appointment for your child. Remember NHS treatment for children is free!