With kids now back at school we wanted to make sure that any bad habits which developed during lockdown are changed as a more normal routine returns. Many of us have understandably let children graze on foods which are bad for their teeth over the last few months.
It’s been difficult on them not seeing friends, enjoy their normal outdoor time and also having to be home-schooled. So, rewarding them more frequently or letting them raid the biscuit jar seemed like an easy distraction. It’s very similar to summer holidays when it was found that children end up consuming up to five times more sugar than they would do at any other time of the year.
All this snacking can have a detrimental effect on our children’s mouths, so we wanted to share our top ten tips for keeping them dentally healthy.
Reduce their sugar intake. This is a very obvious first step. Rather than chocolate or biscuits think about giving them fruit, cheese, nuts or healthy snacks.
Following on from the above, always check the contents of their lunchboxes for hidden sugar. Many ‘healthy’ yoghurt drinks and smoothies which boast of being full of vitamins are actually crammed full of sugar, one we recently saw had three times more than a well-known cola beverage.
Persuade your kids to drink more water. A glass after they eat can be highly effective in rinsing the mouth of any lingering residue and will help to neutralise any remaining sugars.
Milk is a friend to teeth. Whilst not all children are fans of it milk is low in acid, rich in calcium, phosphorus and casein. This winning combination of minerals and proteins work to strengthen teeth and bones and even aid the repair of damaged tooth enamel.
If they will only drink sweeter juices try and encourage them to use a straw. This directs the liquid to the back of the mouth and limits exposure rather than allowing drinks to bathe the teeth in sugar unnecessarily.
Try to avoid letting them brush their teeth within an hour of drinking sugary drinks and juice. This allows the enamel to recover and reharden before vigorous brushing.
Use an age-appropriate fluoride toothpaste and brush teeth twice daily without fail.
Maintain a routine of visiting us regularly. We dentists can spot potential issues before they become larger problems, plus we are able to provide a more thorough clean than you or your children may be able to achieve.
Disclosing tablets are useful in showing up areas you or your children may be missing as part of your dental cleaning routine.
Take a look on your phone for fun dental apps, including ones to time their brushing and spot hidden sugar. These are fun and interactive and can help children really enjoy learning about their dental health.
If you have concerns that the oral health of your children has been impacted over the lockdown period by an increase in sugar consumption, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 020 8958 0136.