We want our children’s teeth to be perfect and to avoid any preventable problems due to dental decay.
It is a sobering thought that the most prevalent but preventable disease worldwide is dental caries /decay but by introducing good dental care and dietary habits that prevent decay and gum disease to our children’s daily routines ,we can prevent our children from a lifetime of problems with their teeth.
So, what is to blame? – What are the causes of dental caries or decay?
Its simple- frequent ingestion of sugar, dental plaque and time.
What can we do to prevent Dental Decay?
There are SIX ways to prevent dental decay:
1.Remove Dental Plaque.
Plaque is the collection of microorganisms (bacteria) and other material around the teeth. Plaque can be removed by efficient tooth brushing and flossing.
2.Strengthen the Enamel.
The enamel that coats the teeth becomes softened with sugary substances. It can be protected by regular tooth brushing and strengthened by using fluoride toothpaste.
3.Limit Sugar Intake.
The sugars in sweet foods and sugary drinks are metabolised to acids by the bacteria in dental plaque. These acids cause demineralisation or softening of the enamel. This process can be prevented by reducing the frequency of sugar intake to a maximum of six times a day.
4.Avoid Food and Sweet Drinks at Night.
A simple effective rule-nothing to eat and drink for the hour before going to bed. Saliva in the mouth naturally helps protect against tooth decay. During sleep salivary flow and swallowing decline, making clearance of material in the mouth less frequent. Food and drinks other than water should not be given to toddlers if they wake during the night.
5.Avoid Prolonged Bottle-Feeding.
Offer all drinks from cups not bottles. Prolonged bottle-feeding with sugary drinks or milk, particularly when a toddler is allowed to fall asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth, can contribute to significant dental decay and should be strongly discouraged.
6.Avoid Grazing on Food and Drink.
Frequent eating and drinking are associated with a build-up of plaque on toddler’s teeth. Food and drinks other than water should be restricted to three meals and two to three healthy snacks each day. Grazing on food and drinks should be strongly discouraged
Treatment of dental decay in toddlers by dentists is notoriously difficult because of their limited understanding and attention span. It is far easier to prevent decay than to treat it and these golden rules above will help our kids grow up dental caries free as well as developing good dietary habits for life.
Next month we will take a deep dive into the Art of Toothbrushing for Kids!