Fight childhood tooth decay with our advice on caring for children’s teeth, whether you have tots, toddlers or teens.
Failing to brush teeth for long enough and skipping brushtime can mean that decay-causing bacteria linger in the mouth. These bacteria produce acids that can damage teeth by leaving painful holes (cavities) in the tooth enameli.
According to the NHS, those that consume a high-sugar diet can be more at risk from this acid damage.
In addition to keeping sugar consumption to a minimum, one of the most effective ways to prevent childhood tooth decay is to supervise toothbrushing and teach children how to care for their teethi.
When to start protecting baby teeth from decay
Infant teeth and gums should be cared for as soon as a child starts teething. You may wish to start by cleaning the gums with a soft-bristled toothbrush and then, once your child is used to having this in their mouth and has started to get their first teeth, you can introduce a toothpaste.
All teeth can be vulnerable to decay but the British Dental Association (BDA) believes that baby teeth are perhaps most at risk of cavities.
It says that because the enamel coating that protects the baby teeth is thin, these teeth are more vulnerable to cavity-causing dental plaqueii.
To keep plaque at bay, we make our children’s toothpastes with natural ingredients that have been shown to reduce the bacterial growth associated with dental plaque.
Ideal for helping little ones to learn to care for their teeth independently, our fluoride-free toothpaste ingredients are safe to swallow and there is no need to rinse remaining toothpaste away. If left in the mouth it will continue to have a protective action against bacteria.
How long should kids brush their teeth for?
Each time children brush their teeth they should aim to brush for 2 minutes. For young infants, brushing their teeth for two minutes can feel like a long time but there’s lots of tools that you can use to make it easier for them to know how long they’ve brushed for.
You could invest in a tooth-brushing timer aimed at children or simply use the timer on your phone.
TOP TIP: Find a 2-minute song or YouTube video and play it whilst you help them brush.
The best time to brush to prevent decay
There is some debate around the best time to brush young teeth but as an absolute minimum, children need to brush their teeth twice a day - ideally once in the morning and once in the evening.
BRUSH BEFORE OR AFTER EATING? We’ve looked at the research and currently there is no consensus as to which is best. Some argue that if you are having a high sugar meal, such as chocolate cereal or sugary snacks, you should brush your teeth straight away to prevent decay.
However, the latest advice from the BDA is that because eating generates enamel-softening acids, brushing straight after eating could damage the teeth protective outer coatingiii. Instead they advocate waiting a least an hour after mealtime before you brush.
Choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste for your child
Children should always use an age-appropriate toothpaste and toothbrush. Whether you use an electric kids’ toothbrush or a manual toothbrush is a matter of personal choice but many dental health experts believe that electric toothbrushes provide a more thorough clean.
TOP TIP: Keen to reduce your use of plastic toothbrushes? Bamboo handled brushes are a great alternative to plastic manual toothbrushes.
When it comes to choosing the best toothpaste for your child, the best person to ask is your child’s dentist. During a check-up they will assess the health of their teeth and can help you to determine which toothpaste is best.
OUR FLUORIDE FREE TOOTHPASTE OPTIONS FOR CHILDREN
If swallowed, fluoride can aggravate delicate tummies and for this reason it is recommended that toddlers under the age of 3 do not use a toothpaste containing more than 1,000ppm fluoride.
Another health concern linked to fluoride is tooth-discolouring condition fluorosis. If your child has a high intake of fluoride through water or other sources, your dentist may suggest that they use a fluoride-free toothpaste. The following fluoride-free toothpastes all contains naturally antiseptic ingredients that remove dental plaque and reduce bacterial regrowth.
OUR FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE OPTIONS FOR CHILDREN
We also offer a children’s fluoride toothpaste that contains 1000ppm of the mineral fluoride. Children that consume a high-sugar diet or live in an area with reduced fluoride in their water can be more at risk of tooth decay and the NHS advocates speaking to your dentist to determine if they need to use a toothpaste containing more than 1000ppm fluoridei.
What to eat to prevent decay
An effective tooth care routine can help to protect children’s teeth from bacterial attack but it is also important to minimise the amount of sugar that children consume in their diet.
Even healthy snacks like dried fruit can be full of sugar and to help you make tooth-kind snack choices we’ve asked our office mums to share their low-sugar snack suggestions.
- Emily: My toddler is dairy-free so finding suitable snacks for her isn’t always easy. I trust brands like Organix to be free from added sugar and I also make sure she has lots of healthy finger foods, her current favourite is sliced pepper!
- Alex: Sliced cucumber is my daughter’s go-to after school snack. I try to keep her snacking to a minimum and if she does have a sugary treat, I make sure she drinks lots of water afterwards to help rinse the sugar from her teeth.
- Iwona: I have a teething baby and a primary schooler and something they both enjoy eating is breadsticks and sliced vegetables. They’re great for the weaning process and are a low-sugar after-school snack.
Need help choosing a children’s toothpaste? Please call our friendly customer care team on 01403 740350.