It’s National Smile Month (14th May – 14th June 2018) – the perfect time for oral health advice from our Diet & Nutrition expert!

Despite our oral health improving as a population, tooth decay in young children is still a massive problem regularly hitting the headlines. A study by Public Health England in 2015 found that a quarter of 5 year olds had experienced tooth decay which is a preventable disease. Tooth decay can become very painful and can even result in teeth being taken out under general anaesthetic at hospital. It is really important to keep hold of baby teeth until they are ready to fall out naturally to avoid damage to the permanent teeth.

We are supporting National Smile Month, the UK’s largest campaign to promote good oral health through these three key messages:

Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with fluoride toothpaste

The most important time to brush is last thing at night before going to bed. For children that are able to rinse it is encouraged to spit excess toothpaste into a sink and avoid rinsing to leave the fluoride on the teeth. Fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth and prevent decay however it is important that it is not swallowed in large quantities therefore children under 8 should be supervised.

Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks

Sugar contributes to tooth decay when it is consumed frequently. Sugary snacks and drinks should be kept to mealtimes only. It is important to check the packaging of food and drink as even products that appear to be healthy can be high in sugar. Try fresh fruit and vegetables, water or milk as a tooth-friendly alternative.

Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend

It is now advised to take your child to a Dentist as soon as their first teeth come through and before their first birthday. This will help a child get used to the sights and smells of a dental practice and make it a more pleasant experience as they grow up.

Remember that all children under the age of 18 are entitled to free NHS dental treatment!

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