Tooth decay in Australian kids is on the rise! What you can do – besides daily brushing – to protect your kids’ teeth.
As parents, we want to make sure our kids’ teeth are given as good a start as possible to prevent future problems. Poor oral health can lead to pain, infection and often, lots of expensive treatment.
But did you know that tooth decay in Australian children is actually on the rise? Recent studies by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveal that two out of three Australian 12 year olds have tooth decay in their permanent teeth.
So while we might be encouraging our kids to brush their teeth daily, is it enough to protect against tooth decay?
Here are 5 ways that you can easily ensure you, and your kids, are doing your best to protect their teeth and fight against the wave of tooth decay.
1. Avoid snacking between meals
Ideally, we should only be eating 5 times a day – breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. By spacing out our eating, we give our mouths time in between meals to neutralise some of the acid created by sugars and starches in the food we eat that potentially cause cavities. Regular brushing then removes the food that continues to stick on our teeth after eating. By eating more often through the day, you expose your children’s teeth to sugars and starches too often, and don’t allow their mouths enough time to naturally remove some of the acid build-up from the previous meal. So set designated times for eating, and avoid letting kids snack – yes, even on healthy snacks like fruit or crackers – in between that.
2. Drink water only between meals
Drinks containing sugars, like soft drinks, juice and even milk, will also leave cavity-causing sugars and starches on your kids teeth. By consuming these regularly through the day, we’re not giving our saliva the chance to do its job, increasing the chance of cavities forming. In between meals, be sure to drink water only, and never settle toddlers with milk or juice in their bottle just before sleeping.
3. Drink tap water
Fluoride is a critical element in protecting teeth from cavities. It gets into teeth to help harden them and protect them from the acids that create cavities. Tap water in all capital cities, and other areas of Australia, contain fluoride. Drinking this water regularly, together with using fluoride toothpaste, will help in the fight against tooth decay.
4. Brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Help or supervise til about 8 years old
Encourage your children to brush their teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes – after breakfast and before bed. Always use fluoride toothpaste. Only a small amount is required. When getting children into a regular pattern, sometimes rewards for regular brushing or brushing for 2 minutes at a time, may work well. Electric toothbrushes are also a good way to add some fun and novelty to teeth brushing. Up to the age of about 8, children generally need some assistance or at least supervision to ensure they are brushing correctly and thoroughly.
5. Schedule regular visits to the dentist from age 2
Prevention is always better than a cure, so regularly check the health of your kids (and your) teeth with your dentist. Potential problems can be picked up early – before they become painful, and possibly expensive, experiences. Even if your kids are still having baby teeth coming through, it helps to have a dentist keep an eye on their oral health as the teeth come through.
Best of all, Everton Park Dental offers gap-free dental for kids – meaning you’ll have no out-of-pockets to have regular checkups!
Contact us today for more information. (07) 3355 7936