Following a recent survey on high levels of tooth decay found in children as young as three, Beechwood Dental team decided to take a proactive approach and educate parents and children about sugary drinks. Our dental nurses, Dora and Claire created a visual notice board showing how much sugar is in the different types of drinks the children in our practice consume. Parents have been astounded and have already decided to be more aware of the sugar contents in their children’s food and drinks
Sugary drinks can damage teeth !“Tooth decay affects 12% of three-year-olds, says survey,” BBC News reports. The survey, carried out by Public Health England, found big variations in different parts of the country. Experts believe sugary drinks are to blame for this trend.The survey looked at the prevalence and severity of tooth decay in three-year-old children in 2013. This is the first time the dental health of this age group has been surveyed nationally. It found 12% of children surveyed had tooth decay – more than one in eight children.
What were the main findings of the report?
Of the 53,814 children included in the survey, 12% had dental decay. Of the children with dental decay, on average these children had at least three teeth that were decayed, missing or filled.The report found a wide variation in the levels of decay experienced by three-year-old children living in different parts of the country. The four regions with the most dental decay were:
- the East Midlands
- the north west
- Yorkshire and the Humber
Beechwood Dental suggest taking 2 important steps
- limit children’s consumption of sugar, especially sugary drinks
- make sure they brush their teeth at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
Sugar causes tooth decay. Children who eat sweets every day have nearly twice as much decay as children who eat sweets less often. This is caused not only by the amount of sugar in sweet food and drinks, but by how often the teeth are in contact with the sugar. This means sweet drinks in a bottle or feeder cup and lollipops are particularly damaging because they bathe the teeth in sugar for long periods of time. Acidic drinks such as fruit juice and squash can harm teeth, too.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a fruit juice advertised as “organic”, “natural” or with “no added sugar” is inherently healthy. A standard 330ml carton of orange juice can contain almost as much sugar (30.4g) as a can of coke (around 39g). As Dr Sandra White, points out: “Posh sugar is no better than any other sugar … our key advice for children under three is to just have water and milk.”
A regular teeth cleaning routine is essential for good dental health. Follow these tips and you can help keep your kids’ teeth decay free:
- Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through (usually at around six months, but it can be earlier or later). It’s important to use a fluoride paste as this helps prevent and control tooth decay.
- Children under the age of three can use a smear of family toothpaste. Toothpaste with less fluoride is not as effective at preventing decay.
- Children between the ages of three and six should use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste.
- Make sure your child doesn’t eat or lick the toothpaste from the tube.
- Brush your child’s teeth for at least two minutes twice a day, once just before bedtime and at least one other time during the day.
- Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste, but not to rinse with lots of water. Rinsing with water after tooth brushing will wash away the fluoride and reduce its benefits.
- Supervise tooth brushing until your child is seven or eight years old, either by brushing their teeth yourself or, if they brush their own teeth, by watching how they do it. From the age of seven or eight they should be able to brush their own teeth, but it’s still a good idea to watch them now and again to make sure they brush properly and for the whole two minutes.
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