Important advice about babies and children’s teeth.
Dental experts have issued a warning about looking after babies and children’s teeth .
Tooth decay in children is on the rise with toddlers as young as one and two having tooth extractions .
NHS data obtained by the Royal College of Surgeons shows that extractions in children age four and under in 2015 – 2016 has risen by over 24 % since 2006 and 2007.
The issue is being put down to an increase in sugar consumption and parents not being aware that they need to brush their babies teeth .
Dentist visits for under 18 are free, however, earlier this year it was reported that 42% of children did not see a dentist in 2015 -16.
Although there is a dedicated program in Wales which has reduced tooth decay in children Cardiff University’s senior lecturer in public health Maria Morgan has revealed that some five year olds in Wales having up to nine teeth removed in one go.
She has also reported that 14% of three-year olds have a decay, missing or filled tooth.
Miss Morgan fears that parents of babies may not realise that babies teeth need brushing twice a day as soon as they show.
Parents should also actively supervise children brushing their teeth until at least age seven.
How can you prevent tooth decay in young children?
The NHS Livewell website recommends
– To start brushing your babies teeth with flouride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth breaks through.
– All children’s teeth should be brushed twice a day for two minutes at a time. Use an egg timer to keep it fun ( or why not sing a song or you can download some great apps)
– It is important to use a floride tooth paste as this helps to prevent and control tooth decay.
– There is no need to buy a special children’s tooth paste. Some don’t have enough flouride in them. The tooth paste you use needs to contain at least 1,000ppm fluoride for under six’s . Over seven’s toothpaste needs to have between 1,350-1,500 parts per million (ppm) fluoride.
– Under three’s should only use a smear of toothpaste Children aged three to six years should use a pea size blob of toothpaste.
– Children should be encouraged to spit out excess toothpaste and should not rinse with lots of water as this can wash away the fluoride.
– When teaching them to brush themselves help them by guiding their hands and use a mirror so that they can see where to brush.
– Make sure children don’t run around with the brush in their mouth to avoid accidents.
– Take babies to the dentist from the moment that their milk teeth pop through and make regular visit . These visits are free and it will help to identify any issues early . It will also help children practice opening their mouth and get familiar with the sites and smells of the dentist.
– Always be positive about dentist visits so that your children don’t worry.