In a world filled with sugary drinks, snacks and treats, it’s never been more important to look after your little one’s teeth!
But did you know that looking after their teeth means so much more than just brushing them twice a day? Tooth decay in children is a growing problem, so how can we prevent it?
Here you’ll find some tips on how we can tackle tooth decay in our children. But remember, always speak to a dental professional, such as Docklands Dental if you’re at all worried about your child’s oral health.
So, can my little one have sweets?
We all love sweets, and of course, we want to spoil our children as much as possible. The best thing to do? Try not to give sweets or sweet drinks as rewards. And you can help to prevent problems by making sure they don’t have a large amount or very often, and particularly not before bed, when saliva flow lessens.
So, which snacks are best?
The may not like this, but the best snacks are fruit and raw vegetables. Try tangerines, bananas, pieces of cucumber or carrot sticks. You don’t have to fill them completely full of vegetables or fruit! Other good snacks include toast, rice cakes and plain popcorn. Even dried fruit is high in sugar, so only ever give it to children with meals. The best time would be a dessert, it should never be given as a snack.
What about fizzy drinks?
Fizzy drinks can contain large amounts of sugar, which will increase the risk of tooth decay. Fizzy drinks also contain acids that can erode the outer surface of the tooth. So, it’s best to steer clear of them altogether.
So, what drinks are best?
The best drinks for children over one-year-old are plain still water or plain milk!
What about fruit juices?
Unsweetened juices and even smoothies contain sugars and acids. Although they can contribute towards their 5-A-DAY, you should restrict your child to no more than one small glass (1 150ml portion) of fruit juice or smoothie each day and only at mealtimes.
Also, unsweetened 100% fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies can only ever count as a maximum of one portion of their 5-A-DAY. For example, if they have two glasses of fruit juice and a smoothie in one day, that still only counts as one portion. If your child is thirsty, it’s better to give them water. If they are thirsty they will drink, but if you encourage a sweet tooth you can end up with issues in the future.
And what about bottles?
If you have a baby, then your child should begin moving off the bottle and on to a free-flow feeder cup at six months. Make it a plan to get them off bottles by the age of one. The teats and spouts encourage children to suck for long periods of time and the juice pools in the mouth, so tooth decay happens due to prolonged contact to their teeth.