Healthy Teeth

How can I look after my Child’s Teeth
In the North of England Particularly Blackpool, it is reported that our children have the worst tooth decay in the UK.
We have put together some tips to help promote healthy dental hygiene in very young children. Please take a look so we can all work together to improve our children’s dental health.
Please read the information going out to all children as there may be some things you did not know about food and teeth cleaning that could be useful.
Currently Dental health is a very big issue in young children in our area, we thought it might be useful to provide some current up to date information on this subject. Please read it carefully as currently the Blackpool area has the worst record of tooth decay in children.
You can take care of your child’s teeth by:
• making sure they brush their teeth regularly
• taking them to the dentist regularly
• cutting down on the amount and frequency of sugar they have
Brushing your child’s teeth
Brushing their teeth is an important part of your child’s daily routine, so they continue the healthy habit as they get older.
Start to brush your baby’s teeth using a baby toothbrush as soon as they begin to come through.
Your child’s teeth should be brushed twice a day: last thing at night before bed and at least one other time. Nothing should be eaten or drunk in the last hour before they go to bed, except plain water.
The amount of toothpaste used depends on your child’s age. For children under three years, use a smear or thin film of toothpaste that covers less than three-quarters of the brush. For children aged three to six, use no more than a pea-sized blob of toothpaste.
When your child has finished brushing, encourage them to spit out the toothpaste that’s left, but not to rinse their mouth with water or mouthwash. Children younger than six should not use a mouthwash.
Don’t let your child eat or lick toothpaste from the tube.
Help your child to brush their teeth, or supervise them until they’re at least seven years old.
Remember we only get one set of teeth and the decay on milk teeth can effect second teeth too.
Fluoride toothpaste
All children should use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can be measured in parts per million (ppm) and this is stated on the back of the toothpaste tube.
Children under three should use toothpaste containing no less than 1,000 ppm fluoride.
Children between three and six years can use a toothpaste containing up to 1,350 ppm fluoride.
Older children can use family fluoride toothpaste that contains 1,350-1,500 ppm fluoride.
In certain circumstances, your dentist may recommend higher ppm fluoride toothpaste for your child.
Visiting the dentist
Take your child to the dentist when their first milk teeth appear. NHS dental treatment for children is free.
Your child should have regular dental check-ups as often as your dentist recommends.
Sugar causes tooth decay
Tooth decay is caused by the amount of sugar in sweet food and drinks, and how often teeth come into contact with sugar.
Cutting down on sugar
Try cutting down how often your child has sugary food and drinks by limiting sugary foods to mealtimes. Your child shouldn’t have food and drink with added sugar more than three times a day.
Drinks containing sugars – including natural fruit juices, milkshakes, smoothies and “no added sugar” diluting cordials – should be avoided between meals
Water or milk should be given instead.
Be aware though that even milk contains sugar (lactulose) as does fruit (fructose) though so avoid at bed times as the sugar sit on a child’s teeth all through the night breaking through the enamel.
For children aged up to three years, don’t add sugar to their weaning foods when you introduce them to solids.
If your child needs medicine, ask your pharmacist or GP if a sugar-free version is available.
Be aware of labelling.
“ no added sugar”! does not mean sugar free
“Orange juice drink” is not pure orange juice
Watch out for sugar in surprise places crisps and other savoury foods can be packed full of sugars
Check all labels and ask for help if you are not sure as labelling can be confusing.
Homemade treats often have less sugar than shop bought cakes, biscuits, and treats
Establish Good Teeth brushing routines early
A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for good dental health. Follow these tips and you can help keep your children’s’ teeth decay free:
• Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through (usually at around six months, but it can be earlier or later). It’s important to use a fluoride paste as this helps prevent and control tooth decay.
• All children can use family toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride as long as you supervise brushing until the age of seven and make sure they don’t eat or lick toothpaste from the tube.
• Children under the age of six who don’t have tooth decay can use a lower-strength toothpaste if you prefer, but make sure it contains at least 1,000ppm fluoride. Check the toothpaste packet for this information or ask your dentist.
• Below the age of three years, children should use just a smear of toothpaste.
• Children aged between three and six years should use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste.
• Brush your child’s teeth for about two minutes twice a day: once just before bedtime and at least one other time during the day.
• Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste but not to rinse with lots of water. Rinsing with water after tooth brushing will wash away the fluoride and reduce its benefits.
• Supervise tooth brushing until your child is seven or eight years old, either by brushing their teeth yourself or, if they brush their own teeth, by watching how they do it. From the age of seven or eight they should be able to brush their own teeth, but it’s still a good idea to watch them now and again to make sure they brush properly and for about two minutes.
Making sure they brush properly
• Guide your child’s hand so they can feel the correct movement.
• Use a mirror to help your child see exactly where the brush is cleaning their teeth.
• Make tooth brushing as fun as possible by using an egg timer to time it for about two minutes.
• Don’t let children run around with a toothbrush in their mouth as they may have an accident and hurt themselves.
Taking your child to the dentist
• Take your child to the dentist when the first milk teeth appear. This is so they become familiar with the environment and get to know the dentist. The dentist can help prevent decay and identify any oral health problems at an early stage. Just opening up the child’s mouth for the dentist to take a look is useful practice for when they could benefit from future preventative care.
• When you visit the dentist, be positive about it and make the trip fun. This will stop your child worrying about future visits. Take your child for regular dental check-ups as advised by the dentist. NHS dental care for children is free.

Further information:
• Find a local dentist
• Start4Life
• British Dental Health Foundation: children’s teeth
• NHS Choices
• Talk to your Health visitor
• Talk to your child’s Nursery or Children’s Centre

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