Brush up on baby teeth.Byline: MIRIAM STOPPARD
I'm increasingly concerned at the state of children's teeth, now especially with news that thousands of kids a year end up in hospital for problems caused by tooth decay Tooth Decay Definition
Tooth decay, which is also called dental cavities or dental caries, is the destruction of the outer surface (enamel) of a tooth. .
The UK's rate of extractions has risen from 20,000 in 1997 to 33,500 in 2006 in under-18s, says a study in the British Dental Journal.
Hospital extractions need general anaesthetic, which can trigger a serious allergic reaction allergic reaction
A local or generalized reaction of an organism to internal or external contact with a specific allergen to which the organism has been previously sensitized. in a tiny minority of children. But, without anaesthetic, the procedure would be too traumatic.
I should know - when I was six years old, I was taken to the dentist to have a tooth out and was awake during the procedure. It was terrifying and I had nightmares for years afterwards.
With the knowledge we now have, this shouldn't happen.
Regular, thorough brushing and dental visits should prevent decay getting to the stage where a tooth needs to be taken out.
WHY IT'S VITAL TO START EARLY..
Babies get their first teeth at around six to eight months and usually have all 20 milk teeth by the age of two-and-a-half. I must emphasise how important they are. First, kids need them to help them learn to talk. Without certain teeth, it's difficult to make sounds such as s, d and t. Of course, the main use of milk teeth is for chewing tough food. Without key teeth, kids will end up eating soft food - typically processed and less nutritious foods like ice cream, jelly, custard and sweets. Next, milk teeth provide a guide for adult teeth coming through the gums.
Without direction, they're more likely to come in crooked or in the wrong place, so your child will end up needing braces. Here's how to make sure your kids keep their dazzling smile....
Get plenty of vitamin D vitamin D
Any of a group of fat-soluble alcohols important in calcium metabolism in animals to form strong bones and teeth and prevent rickets and osteoporosis. It is formed by ultraviolet radiation (sunlight) of sterols (see steroid) present in the skin.
Kids with mums who are vitamin D deficient in pregnancy are more likely to suffer from tooth decay.
The Government's Food Standards Agency The Food Standards Agency is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food throughout the United Kingdom and is led by an appointed board that is intended to act in the public (FSA FSA Financial Services Authority
FSA Food Standards Agency (UK)
FSA Farm Service Agency (USDA)
FSA Financial Services Agency (Japan) ) now advises women who are pregnant and breastfeeding to take a vitamin D supplement of 10mcg a day.
I'd recommend drinking milk or eating eggs, red meat and oily fish like sardines, herring and mackerel mackerel, common name for members of the family Scombridae, 60 species of open-sea fishes, including the albacore, bonito, and tuna. They are characterized by deeply forked tails that narrow greatly where they join the body; small finlets behind both the dorsal and .
However, for pregnant and breastfeeding women, the FSA advises limiting oily fish to twice a week.
When your child's first tooth appears at around six monthsbuy them a small, softtoothbrush and brush twice a day, first thing in the before bed. Use small, circular movements, the teeth and on to the gums.
Make it a ritual
My grandkids have always known that brushing their teeth is non- negotiable and now they enjoy it. Let them watch you brush and automatically want to you, especially if you getthem a fun brush in brightcolours or one with a character on it. Let them have a go themselves but, up to the age of about seven, you'll need to brush properly afterwards to make sure they're not missing bits, especially at the back.
The British Dental Health Foundation The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) is one of the World's leading independent oral health charities. It is headquartered in the United Kingdom and aims to help the public improve their oral health and hygiene through a range of activities run under the name of the British advises that kids and adults should brush for two minutes twice a day - some brushes come with timers.
However, don't brush more than three times a day and don't do it right after meals as this can wear away tooth enamel, which is softened by the acid from food. Instead, get them to wait half an hour to an hour after eating for the enamel to re-harden.
If any of your children's teeth touch each other, they should floss once a day. Do it for your child until the age of nine. If you're unsure, ask your dentist.
Be a fan of fluoride
I'm a great believer in fluoride. Choose a toothpaste containing the right amount of fluoride for their age. Check the tube's packaging - for kids under three it should be 1000ppmF (parts per million parts per million
mg/kg or ml/l; see ppm. Fluoride) and for those over three it should be 1,350 to 1500ppmF. Use a pea-sized smear of toothpaste and get them to just spit it out at the end, without rinsing, leaving fluoride on their teeth..
Get to know the dentist
Get your kids used to the dentist early - by two they should have a full set of baby teeth so they need regular visits. Take their favourite cuddly toy for comfort.
Beware bottle mouth
This happens when a baby's or toddler's teeth decay because they've been sucking on a bottle of sugary liquid for long periods. Never give babies sweet drinks, including full-strength fruit juice. This also helps prevent them getting a sweet tooth later.
And don't give them a bottle at bedtime, even milk, as the lactic acid can lead to decay.
MAKE SWEETS A TREAT
The time that teeth are exposed to sugar or acid poses as much, if not more, of a threat to teeth than the quantity of sugar.
Limit the number of times a day that teeth are exposed to sugar and acid. Try to let kids eat no more than five times a day (three meals and two snacks) to limit acid attack. Good snacks include raw carrots or fresh fruit - avoid dried fruit, which is high in sugar.
Avoid foods that are in the mouth a long time, such as lollies and toffee, so keep them as occasional treats. Non-diet fizzy drinks are also bad news.
Give kids a straw when drinking fruit juice or smoothies to help protect their teeth from the sugar and acid. Also, limit these drinks to once a day - it's better for kids to eat real fruit, which contains fibre and isn't as damaging to teeth.
Read the label - Even processed baby foods can be high in sugar. Sugar is often listed as sucrose, glucose, fructose fructose (frŭk`tōs), levulose (lĕv`yəlōs'), or fruit sugar, simple sugar found in honey and in the fruit and other parts of plants. or syrup and the higher it comes up the list of ingredients, the more the product contains. For kids up to the age of 10, juice should have no added sugar.
Additional research: MADELEINE BAILEY