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18 January 2019

Giving your youngsters a healthy start to life with a sensible oral care regimen.

Many of you will have seen in the media, reports that oral problems such as periodontitis are increasingly being linked to health issues such as strokes and heart diseases.

We may not be too concerned about this problems for our young children right now, but, like all parents, we want our kids to grow up happy and healthy, and starting out on the right foot is one of the best ways to help them to achieve this.

Local Surbiton parents who attend our practice will be aware that we firmly believe in preventative dental care from a young age. Ideally, we like to see a child around the time of their first birthday, but even if you have missed this date by a few years, it is better to start now than delay even further. Regular dental examinations at the Confidental Clinic are important for grown ups and children, but let’s not forget that good overall care begins at home.

First teeth

As your child’s first teeth start to come through, this often seems to coincide with their increasing demands for sugary foods. It can be hard to deny them, especially if we have a sweet tooth ourselves. Sometimes too, we may be so tired that we simply give in for a bit of quiet and ‘me time’. However tempting it may be though, keeping their sugar consumption to a sensible level plays an important role in keeping their young teeth healthy.

Here are  a few suggestions on how you might be able to achieve this:

  • Make sure that sweets etc are only allowed at certain times and in a routine that your children will get used to.
  • Don’t let them ‘graze’ on sweets. Grazing does not allow the teeth to recover naturally (re-mineralise) and instead leaves them coated in sugars and acidic bi-products
  • Insist on drinking water as much as possible. This is good for them anyway as it will help to keep them hydrated as well as helping to wash food and sugars from their mouth. You are unlikely to be able to prevent them from drinking sugary drinks altogether, but limiting them will definitely help.
  • Become aware. Parents often make ‘accidental mistakes’ in what they give their children. A case in point is the use of fruit drinks. On the surface of things, these may look entirely healthy, but even those with no added sugar are often high in acids and can cause damage to your children’s teeth. Try to educate yourself on what food and drinks contain.

It isn’t just what kids eat and drink of course, though it is important. Their cleaning regime will also determine how healthy their teeth and gums are. Whilst your children are young, you should always supervise their brushing, possibly brushing your teeth at the same time so that they learn to do it correctly. Make a game of it if it helps them to clean their teeth. Most kids prefer an electric toothbrush too and we generally advise that this will help them to keep their teeth clean more easily.

Once teeth have been brushed at  night, you should give them nothing but water to drink. If they are in the habit of having a drink such as warm milk at night whilst you read them a bedtime story, allow them to do so, but make sure that they clean their teeth afterwards and not before drinking it.

Finally, a reminder that however healthy your children’s teeth seem, you should bring them to see one of our children’s dentists at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton around every six months. Our team are very child friendly and we will make the experience as pleasant as possible for them. Getting them into this habit whilst young will help them to continue it throughout their lives, helping them to grown up with a set of strong healthy teeth.

You can make appointments for yourself, or your children, by calling our Surbiton practice on 020 8399 1291. Our team looks forward to welcoming you!

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