Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How To Stop Your Child Getting Holes In Their Teeth


 I watched the live twitter feed as The Dentist was on last night  ( I know I need to get out more)  and I was struck  ( but secretly pleased )  by the outrage from the general public as child after child was referred for the removal multiple teeth under general anaesthesia. "Refer to social services" said one. "Some people should not be allowed to have children" said another. so if we all think this is appalling, then how come day in day out I refer children for this procedure? How can you stop your child getting holes in their teeth?

Firstly, let's get this straight. Dental decay or caries is 100% preventable. There are few conditions where the teeth come through poorly formed as a result of genetic conditions or a disturbance which happens around the time of birth but these are in the minority. Most of the children and young people I see have holes which could have been avoided. so it is just a case of eating fewer sweets? Well yes, and no. Yes, because diet is a big factor, but it's not the only one.

So, here are my top tips to stop your child getting holes in their teeth:

1.)  Get grandparents on side

Try to encourage grandparents to use alternative treats to sweets - putting money in their piggy bank or buying a small gift can allow them to spoil grandchildren without wrecking their teeth.
2.)  Spit, don't rinse

From the age of 3 your child can use a pea sized amount of adult toothpaste. Encourage them to spit out excess paste, but not rinse their mouth with water. Why? Because rinsing washes away the fluoride which has shown to reduce dental decay.

3.)  Respect the golden hour

 Dentists call the hour before bed, "The golden hour". Avoid letting your child have anything to eat or drink in this time aside from water. The reason for this is that when whenever we have anything containing sugar to eat, it takes our mouths time to recover and to move from the process of demineralisation  ( rebuilding them again ) . When we sleep, our mouths dry out and we lose the protective effect of saliva. This is why having sweet things in the hour before bed is a recipe for disaster.

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