Do you remember about a month ago when I came to you searching for low sugar lunch box ideas after I washed away with guilt when the dental nurse found 4 cavities, one of which was quite large & abscessed?! I have really awful teeth so I'm a little anal about teeth brushing but less anal about what we eat (you all know what a sweet tooth I have!). I cried the second I stepped outside of that dental clinic, filled with guilt & not wanting a single piece of sugar pass his lips ever again - unrealistic & actually not likely to be the sole cause.
So many of you weighed in with kind messages to pump me back up again (ILY), lunchbox ideas, there were even some dentists & dental therapists who sent through some recommendations, I have compiled them all for you here because I am still shocked at how little I knew! I have been a health professional & mum for over a decade & this was the first time some of this information at flashed past my eyes & ears. A comment was made during this dialogue that dentistry has let parents down by assuming we know things these things but once you read them it will seem common sense, but without being told, who would equate dried fruit with lollies?!
- Sugar isn’t the only problem - genetics is a big one but most of all baby teeth are prone to small problems due to how they are formed
- Remember it’s not how much sugar you eat (in reference to teeth) it’s about how long it sits on the teeth.The key thing that catch people out is dried fruit - the problem is that it sticks to teeth so there is concentrated exposure for longer. So, avoid sticky foods like dried fruits, raisins, fruit leathers & even crackers because they stick in the little grooves for a long time, children can’t remove these as well as we can. Fresh food is much better
- Try to stick to water as much as possible, even watering juice down still changes the pH so you may as well have full sugar juice. It is less to do with the sugar in the juice & more about the acidity making the teeth prone to decay. This isn't limited to just juice, it includes lemon in water & soda water too. If having any drinks other than water try to have them at mealtimes so as not to spread the acid attack on enamel.
- Dairy is great at getting the pH level back to normal faster so encourage a slice of cheese or a yoghurt at the end of a meal
- Wait 30minutes after eating to brush because if the acid level is high in the mouth after eating toothbrush bristles can actually cause enamel damage
- Always use adult toothpaste with 1450ppm fluoride because some kids toothpaste has sub effective levels of fluoridation. Children should use a pea sized drop, spit & not rinse with water after brushing. Flouride tablets & fluoride applications are two things that can be considered. If you don't like fluoride look in to tooth mousse which can be found here it's a great idea for children who are prone to tooth decay
- It's a good idea to brush before letting them have a go themselves. Try standing behind them while looking in the mirror for a more natural brush & more likely to do a better job. We should brush their teeth until they are 8, that may sound extreme but their manual dexterity isn’t that flash until then
- We should be flossing their teeth once they're touching but if flossing makes your child too overwhelmed or sad, don’t do it every day. Just as they can manage it, some is better than none as we don't want to worsen their dental experience
Are you mind blown to or is it only me who has been sheltered from this information. I bet I'm not alone?!
A wee update on Sebby - long story short, he is on the waitlist to be seen at our hospital but the waitlist is 3-4 months for a consult & I imagine it will be a few more months after that for surgery. I want to thank you all for of your sweet messages, tips for teeth hygiene & lunchbox ideas. I'll be back next week with Part II - lunchboxes!