Tooth extractions on toddlers have risen by a quarter in the last decade; more than 160 operations to remove several rotting teeth from children were carried out each working day in England last year; and, shockingly, a quarter of five-year-olds in England have tooth decay.
The positive news is that you can protect your children’s teeth in just a few simple steps, and teach them habits that will set them up for a lifetime of good dental health.
As well as reducing the amount of sugar in your child’s diet, you can brush their teeth – and, when they’re old enough, teach and encourage them to do this for themselves. Children should also be taken to the dentist when their first milk teeth appear, so they become familiar with the environment and get to know their dentist.
At this appointment, you’ll be advised on how regularly you should schedule check-ups. Be positive about the trip, and make it fun for your child if possible, so they don’t worry about future visits. It’s worth noting that NHS dental care for children is free.
Having teeth removed can be very traumatising for children, and requires them to take time away from school (and you to take time off work). But that’s not the only reason we should be looking after their mouths. Your dental health affects the health of the rest of your body. After all, our mouths are teeming with bacteria. Without brushing and flossing, this bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections such as gum disease – potentially contributing towards the onset of conditions like endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart; cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke; and premature birth in pregnancy.
By motivating your children to care for their oral health now, you can give them the gift of a healthier future.
As soon as your child’s first milk tooth appears – which usually occurs at around six months – start brushing with a soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Below the age of three, you should only use a smear of paste; children between the ages of three and six should use a pea-sized blob. Brush for two minutes, twice a day: one just before bedtime, and one at another point during the day.
Do this for your child yourself, or supervise brushing, until they are seven or eight years old – encouraging them to spit out the toothpaste, but not to rinse with too much water, as this minimises the effectiveness of the paste.
The simple answer is ‘yes’!
Though some parents may worry about the level of Fluoride in adult toothpastes, the NHS says that many ‘children’s toothpaste’ brands do not offer the amount needed to protect children’s teeth and gums. BioMin™ F delivers a safe, low level of Fluoride for eight times longer than a traditional Fluoride toothpaste, providing continuous protection for you and your children alike. It not only meets NHS recommendations, but could also prove optimal for the development of new tooth mineral – containing both Calcium and Phosphate.
How do you look after your children’s dental health? Do your kids use BioMin™ F?