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  • Marjorie

Healthy Habits, Healthy Teeth

We Recently had a dentist visit our daughter’s nursery to give a talk on improving the health of children through good oral health. There is nothing like a talk from a dentist along with photos of tooth decay to put the fear of eating or drinking anything that isn’t water in you.

Many of us are very much aware of how to keep our teeth and mouth healthy and clean. We were taught when we were young, as we grow we read up on it and we get advice from professionals, so we know what to do, or what not to do.

So it's surprising when we still come across headlines such as this;

“Tooth extractions on toddlers rise by a quarter in 10 years.”

“Half of children have tooth decay – with poverty and sugar blamed for epidemic.”

“Sugary food is at fault as 160 children have teeth pulled out everyday costing £36 million”

“Babies are having rotten teeth removed BEFORE their first birthday due to sugar rich diets.”

I mean this is scary stuff folks! We know this is happening, but sometimes don’t comprehend the scale of it. And it’s getting worse. How are we allowing this to happen to our children?

The major contributing factor is sugar, its everywhere…in everything – juice, fruit, milk, the list goes on. It’s extremely hard to avoid it. Combine that with the fact that as parents/carers we are busy and sometimes neglect the fundamental responsibility of careful, skilful brushing of teeth.

It’s no fun trying to brush baby or toddler teeth, the whole procedure can be quite cumbersome. My children have never been willing participates. But persevere we must, especially after seeing some of those photos and hearing some mind numbing stories.

It’s not just brushing teeth however, regular dentist visits and providing a good diet all contribute to all round oral health. Diet is so important, the visiting dentist mentioned that it wasn’t unusual to come across parents who regularly give coke to their toddler – or honey on the dummy! I find this very hard to understand, and of course it’s easy to start judging. However, I do give from time to time, squash to my four year old – some parents will probably disagree with that. We all have different standards…. Either way tooth decay and gum disease is very serious and can have devastating consequences for children with it.

There are a number of benefits to having Healthy teeth, and this is especially true for baby teeth. These little milky teeth are so important for the healthy development of adult teeth. They are also important for the following reasons;

eating, speaking, smiling, jaw growth, space holders for adult teeth, confidence and general wellbeing.

Children should be supervised brushing their teeth until they are at least 7 years old - Tell, Show and Do! Repeat this for everything!

So what are some healthy habits and healthy behaviours we can follow?

Brush twice a day, every day.

Brush for 2 minutes

Spit don’t Rinse

Regular visits to the dentist

Reduce frequency of sugar consumption

No bottle to bed!

No fizzy Drinks - Water, water and more water

Try to stop the use of a dummy by 12 months old and thumb/finger sucking by 3 years old (not easy, I know this very well)

I’m really glad that I attended this talk, for the information, the reminders and that motivation to keep making good choices for my children. I thought I would leave you with a motto we were left with too;

Remember – You only have to brush the teeth you wish to keep!

Keep smiling!

Little Ellen’s Mama xx

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