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Tips to avoid tooth decay for kids

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay (dental caries) occurs in specific places on the teeth where plaque and bacteria are not removed, or if there is a problem with saliva. When sugar or other fermentable carbohydrates are consumed the bacteria in the plaque produce acids which attack the surface of the teeth causing white spots at first and potential holes later on.

Children usually have their baby teeth up until 12 years old and may be more prone to tooth decay in them as they are smaller and weaker than permanent teeth. Newly erupted permanent teeth are also susceptible to acid attacks in the first few months of appearing. Regular dental appointments are a great way to keep things in check and monitor your brushing progress!

Dental diet tips:

  • Drink plain water throughout the day and limit other drinks like juice or cordial to meal times or just special occasions if possible.

  • Soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks and cordials are highly acidic and can lead to erosion of the teeth.

  • Sugary drinks and snacks cause bacteria to reproduce rapidly and create acids which attack the tooth surfaces.

  • Do your best to limit snacking, and if you do snack, choose crunchy and nutritious foods.

  • Swish your mouth with water after eating and drinking, especially sugary or sticky substances.

  • Brush your teeth 30 minutes after eating or drinking.

  • Chewing a sugar-free gum is great for promoting saliva to neutralise acids after eating and drinking (especially Xylitol containing gum).

Brushing tips:

  • Brush teeth twice daily – in the morning and always before bed (avoid eating or drinking anything other than plain water after night time brushing).

  • Brush at least 2 minutes each time, making sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth.

  • Try to incorporate flossing – this helps remove bacteria and food between the teeth (a common spot where tooth decay can occur).

  • Use an age appropriate fluoride toothpaste and spit out when you finish, avoid rinsing.

  • Need further help? Use plaque disclosing tablets to help reveal where you might have missed brushing!

Check out this great video by Colgate that will help educate your kids on the importance of brushing their teeth. They have a range of resources for parents and kids on their website

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