Watching your child suffer with toothache is a painful and upsetting experience. The main cause of toothache is tooth decay. And too often the main cause of tooth decay is too much sugar in the diet. Every time your child eats or drinks anything containing sugar, this sugar combines with the bacteria in your child’s mouth to form acid. This acid attacks their teeth for up to an hour after eating. It can damage their tooth enamel, causing a hole or ‘cavity’ to form. This in turn can lead to fillings – or even an extraction
Prevention of Tooth decay
• Sugar should not be added to weaning foods or drinks
• Parents should brush or supervise tooth brushing
• As soon as teeth erupt in the mouth brush them twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste
• Brush last thing at night and on one other occasion
• Use fluoridated toothpaste containing no less than 1,000ppm fluoride
• It is good practice to use only a smear of toothpaste
• The frequency and amount of sugary food and drinks should be reduced
• Sugar-free medicines should be recommended
Which foods are bad for my child's teeth?
• There are the usual suspects: chocolate, sweets, biscuits, cakes and fizzy drinks. By combining with bacteria in your child’s mouth, they produce high levels of acid. This acid attacks their teeth, damaging the enamel, and leaving them vulnerable to tooth decay.
• There are also foods you might not instantly associate with tooth decay. Starchy foods such as crisps, white bread and pretzels not only contain high levels of sugar, they get stuck between teeth more easily. The longer foods like these are in contact with your child’s teeth, the greater damage they can cause. For this reason, it is important they are confined to mealtimes.
• Other surprise offenders are fruit smoothies, fruit juice and dried fruit. Whilst considered healthy, they are not tooth-friendly. Their high sugar content can be harmful to your child’s teeth if consumed between mealtimes
Bring your baby to us for a check-up when their first tooth appears.
It is well recognized that oral health has an important role in the general health and well-being of individuals Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums does more than help ensure you have a bright, white smile. A healthy mouth and healthy body go hand in hand. Good oral hygiene and oral health can improve your overall health, Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for about two minutes to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy.
• Replace your brush or brush attachment every three months
• Never share your toothbrush, as this can spread infections
• Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for about two minutes
When should I brush my teeth?
Brush your teeth for about two minutes last thing at night before you go to bed and on one other occasion every day. Your dentist or hygienist may give you more advice based on your own dental health and needs.
Should I use an electric or manual toothbrush?
It doesn't matter whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush. They're both equally as good, as long as you brush all the surfaces of all your teeth and you use fluoride toothpaste. However, some people find it easier to clean their teeth thoroughly with an electric toothbrush.
What should I look for in a toothbrush?
For most adults, a toothbrush with a small head and a compact, angled arrangement of long and short round-end bristles is fine. Medium or soft bristles are best for most people. If you're using an electric brush, one with an oscillating or rotating head may work better than a manual toothbrush. However, making sure you thoroughly clean your teeth at least twice a day is more important than the type of brush you use. If in doubt, ask your dentist.
What type of toothpaste should I use?
It's important to use a toothpaste with the right concentration of fluoride. Check the packaging to find out how much fluoride each brand contains. Adults should use a toothpaste that contains at least 1,350 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. Your dentist may advise you to use a toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride, if you need it.
How to brush your teeth?
Make sure you brush all the surfaces of all your teeth, which should take about two minutes. Remember to brush the inside surfaces, outside surfaces and the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
Don't rinse with water straight after tooth brushing?
After brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste. Don't rinse your mouth immediately after brushing, as it will wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste, thus diluting it and reducing its preventative effects.
Should I use mouthwash?
Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride can help to prevent tooth decay, but don't use mouthwash – even a fluoride one – straight after brushing your teeth or it will wash away the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste left on your teeth. Choose a different time to use mouthwash, such as after lunch. Don't eat or drink for 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash.
How to use dental floss?
Flossing isn't just for dislodging food wedged between your teeth. Regular flossing may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line. It's best to floss before brushing your teeth.
• Take 12-18 inches (30-45cm) of floss or dental tape, and grasp it so you have a couple of inches of floss taut between your hands.
• Slip the floss or dental tape between the teeth and into the area between your teeth and gums, as far as it will go.
• Floss with 8-10 strokes, up and down between each tooth, to dislodge food and plaque.
How to use interdental brushes?
You can use interdental brushes or single-tufted brushes instead of flossing, especially if there are gaps between your teeth. The brush should fit snugly between the teeth. Never use toothpicks to remove trapped food from between your teeth, as you may damage your gums, which could lead to an infection. Your dentist or hygienist can advise you on the best way to use interdental cleaning for your teeth.
Smoking & Dental health
Tobacco use in England continues to kill more than 70,000 people every year, nearly 1,900 of these people die from oral cancer (The Office of National Statistics, 2013). Reduction in tobacco use will help to improve dental treatment outcomes, promote oral and general health and ultimately save lives.
In the UK, more than 7,500 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year. The disease has grown by a third in the last decade. Although there are risk factors heavily linked to the disease, mouth cancer can affect anybody - that's why it's so important that you know what to look out for. Don't leave that ulcer unattended for more than two weeks. Don't ignore that unusual lump or swelling or red and white patches in your mouth. Early detection could save your life.
Many of us become a little anxious before a dentist appointment but don’t be tempted to put off a dentist visit. If some treatment is needed, it will be less serious than if the treatment is put off.