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Oral hygiene for kids
Published on 12 May 2017 by Funmi Sijuwade, Dentist, updated on 11 May 2017
With the incidence of tooth decay on the rise in the UK amongst our children it is important for parents to be aware of good oral hygiene practices to ensure their children don’t develop this.
Here are some important useful tips:
Brushing: It is important to get your child to brush at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and a small head toothbrush for a minimum of 2 minutes. There are some great timers out there to make this fun or you can get a brush that times for you! It is particularly important to brush at night before going to bed and not to eat afterwards or drink milk. This is because at night salivary flow is reduced hence the good enzymes and substances in the saliva that help fight the adverse effect of bacteria will be in short supply thereby increasing the potential for more damage and tooth decay development if refined sugar is left on tooth surfaces overnight.
Sugar intake: In the dental context when we refer to sugar we mean the sugar we add to tea or cereal as adults as well as refined sugar that comes in processed food or drinks such as chocolate, crisps, biscuits, sweets, cakes etc which our children love! Where possible we advise to avoid having these, which I am sure you are aware. However, if you have to give children treats then reduce the frequency and amount and limit consumption to meal times and get them to brush after. This reduces the length of time the food substance is in the mouth and hence bacteria don’t have enough time to act on them to cause damage.
Acidic drinks: They include fizzy drinks or soda and citrus fruit juices such as orange, lemon, grapefruit. Where possible avoid giving children fizzy drinks or soda, water is better! We recognise the health benefits of fruits and so will advise to have fresh fruit but reduce the frequency and limit to meal times. After having acidic (citrus) fruit you can rinse with water or drink water to reduce the acidity and give about 30 mins to 1 hour before brushing.
Interproximal cleaning: It is important to clean the contacts between teeth and the best way to do this is by use of interdental cleaning dentifrices. Ask your dentist to prescribe one that best suits your child because the space between teeth varies for different individuals.
Take your child to see the dentist: Regular dental check-up is of paramount importance for children however, being in the dental surgery can be unfamiliar and hence daunting for children. It is important for the dental practitioner to be aware of this and to possess the knowledge, experience, patience, and time required to make a child comfortable and relaxed enough to be examined. At One Stop Doctors our dental practitioners are well equipped with fantastic experience, the right temperament and ample time to ease your child into their dental experience and make it the best ever!
The above tips apply to adults as well.
To book an appointment with Funmi for your child's check up, just call 0800 852 1234.