7 Ways to Help Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

7 Ways to Help Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

As a parent, you want the best for your child’s health, and that includes their dental health. Tooth decay in children is fast becoming a common problem among children in the UK, and it can lead to painful cavities and other widespread dental issues. With a little effort and attention, you can prevent tooth decay and help set your child up for a lifetime of healthy dental habits and a beautiful smile.

We have compiled a list of the 7 best ways to prevent tooth decay in your children, so read on to discover how you can help your child maintain good oral health for years to come.

Children’s Oral Health

The current state of children’s oral health in the UK is dire – it has been estimated that 6.5 million children in England have not had an appointment with an NHS dentist in the last twelve months. According to a report conducted by the British Dental Association, the availability of dental care has drastically decreased, particularly for lower income families, and the gap in oral health between different demographics of the UK population is preventing young people from accessing the dental care that they need.

These factors have resulted in a huge spike in tooth decay for the younger demographic. Research has revealed that a majority of kids in the UK suffer from bad teeth with over 70 a day having teeth extracted. Experts, however, believe that it is not only the backlog in dental bookings that is the problem, but also the diets of children, and their brushing habits, which are inadequate.

Here are seven ways to break this cycle of poor oral health, and prevent tooth decay in your children.

Better Brush

When choosing a toothbrush for your child, select one with a small head and soft bristles. If you are aiming to make brushing more appealing for your child, allow them to choose their own toothbrush, preferably one with a colourful design to encourage them to associate brushing their teeth with engaging colours and a positive experience.

If your child is over three years old, brushing their teeth can be made easier and more enjoyable by brushing with an electric toothbrush. This not only provides a more efficient clean, but can make the process more fun for your child, particularly if they have seen you use an electric toothbrush in the past.

Avoid Sugary Snacks

Although it may be hard to do, particularly for younger children, limiting the consumption of sugary snacks is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay in children.

Whilst it may be tempting to give your child small amounts of sweets during the day, and a thorough teeth clean in the evening, this approach is an ineffective way to prevent tooth decay, as all it does is expose teeth to sugar throughout the day. The best way to consume sugar is to give your child a single, small portion after dinner, and opt for fruit where possible.

Healthy Alternatives

Some other healthy alternatives to sugary snacks involve:

  • A tortilla with a sprinkling of paprika for flavour can be oven-baked instead of Wotsits
  • Instead of sweets, a banana or raisins can be used for a lunchbox snack
  • Fresh fruit juice can be consumed instead of squash diluted with water, or just water
  • Chicken or cheese sandwiches can be an alternative to jam sandwiches
  • Natural yoghurt combined with raspberries can replace fruit yoghurts, which are often full of hidden sugars

Demonstrate Good Habits

It is important for parents to demonstrate good oral hygiene habits to their children. By brushing your teeth twice daily, and making sure that your children see you doing so, they may be more inclined to mimic and participate in the behaviour.

Begin Early

Since children naturally shy away from pain and discomfort, brushing their teeth can be a difficult task for parents. Take the time to brush your children’s teeth regularly from a young age, brushing gently in circular motions so that the child can become accustomed to the feeling.

Maintain a Routine

Establishing a dependable routine when brushing teeth is beneficial for children as it helps them form good habits like brushing twice daily. To make it easier for them to remember, adding brushing teeth to their nighttime routine, like reading or changing into pyjamas, can help it become a natural part of their day.

Introduce the Dentist

It is essential that your children have routine dental examinations, and they should have visited a dentist before the age of two. Familiarising your children with the dentist from an early age helps them get comfortable with the setting, and frequent visits from a young age are likely to instil a positive attitude towards oral health.

Similarly, if you or your partner have an aversion to dentists, try to ensure that your children do not develop a similar fear. When speaking to children about dentists, it is advisable to use a positive or neutral tone, so that they don’t start to feel anxious when thinking about dental visits.

Prevent Tooth Decay with Kids Dental at Marsh House

Don’t wait for issues to develop with your child’s oral health before booking an appointment with our team. We offer a range of preventative treatments and routine appointments to keep an eye on their health and provide any ongoing advice you may need.

Follow the link to find out more about our services, or talk to our team on 020 8646 6300 to book an appointment.