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Dental health advice for you babies teeth at Spires Dental Clinic in Lichfield Staffordshire

Caring For Your Babies Teeth

Many people say you should take your child to see the dentist on their first birthday, at Spires we don’t think this is necessary as if you look after your children’s teeth with our easy steps, you won’t need to visit the dentist until your child is older.  We recommend bringing your child when they will actually allow us to have a look- about 2-4 years of age.

So, in the meantime, how should you be caring for your child’s teeth?…

Milk Teeth

From the age of about 6 months your baby will start teething and will have around 20 baby teeth by the age of 3 years old. Milk teeth play an important role as they hold space for the second teeth. The enamel on baby teeth is thin and is more likely to decay and erode especially if they are exposed to sugar or acidic drinks too often.

When should you start cleaning your baby’s teeth?

You should start as soon as your baby’s first teeth start to come through.  At first you will not be able to clean them too well but please remember the aim of cleaning is to apply fluoride to the teeth to help strengthen them.  You will not be able to remove all the plaque effectively till they are a little older, maybe 12-24 months.

Remember it is not the cleaning that prevents tooth decay; avoiding sugar is the single most important thing.

Cleaning from such a young age morning and night gets your baby into a routine. The important thing is to get your baby used to brushing their teeth as part of their daily routine. Why not set a good example and let them see you brushing your own teeth.

What do I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

To begin with you may only be able to use a small soft baby toothbrush.  Personally I found that cleaning my children’s teeth was very difficult so I started to use an ORAL B electric toothbrush when my children were 18-24 months.  The ORAL B invariably cleans more effectively and is much easier to use.

It is highly recommended to use a child specific toothpaste as they contain less concentration of fluoride, reducing the chance that your child will mottle their adult teeth by ingesting too much of the toothpaste.

Why is fluoride recommended?

Fluoride strengthens the enamel of our adult and baby teeth making them more resistant to tooth decay. Fluoride can occur naturally in some water supplies within the country, and it has been added to other parts of the country where it doesn’t occur naturally to help prevent dental decay. Research has shown that there is less decay in children’s teeth where fluoride is found in the water.

It is also important to brush your child’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, and it is important to not rinse your child’s mouth after brushing as this will wash away the fluoride.

Sadly Fluoride can lead to brown and white mottling of the developing adult teeth if children ingest too much toothpaste.  To this end it is important that you only place a smear of tooth paste on your child’s tooth brush as children cannot spit out effectively till they are 6 years of age.  We recommend you oversee their cleaning sessions until they are 7 years of age and place the toothpaste on the brush yourself to make sure they aren’t using too much.

Early food and drink

The early weeks of your baby’s life is more straightforward with milk being the sole source of food. Once your baby starts on solids it is important to try and keep food to meal times plus it is important to avoid giving your child any food or drink except for water in the hour before bed. Avoid as much as possible food and drink that contain sugar this includes dried fruit such as raisins.

Ultimately you need to keep your child away from sugar as much as possible, but especially in-between meals.

Brushing tips for babies

  • Use a tiny flat smear of toothpaste for babies and toddlers up to three years old, and a pea-sized amount for children aged three to six years.
  • Brush their teeth twice a day: just before bed and in the morning
  • If your child doesn’t like having their teeth brushed, just keep trying. Make it into a game, or brush your own teeth at the same time and then help your child finish their own.
  • The easiest way to brush a baby’s teeth is to sit them on your knee, with their head resting against your chest.
  • Brush the teeth in small circles, covering all the surfaces, and encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out afterwards. Remember don’t rinse as this will wash away the fluoride.
  • Supervise brushing to make sure your child gets the right amount of toothpaste and they are not eating or licking toothpaste from the tube.
  • Carry on helping your child brush their teeth until you’re sure they can do it well enough themselves. This will normally be until they’re at least seven.

Also have a read of our blog: How to prevent tooth decay in children

 

Food for health teeth and gums, dental health advice from Spires Dental Clinic in Lichfield Staffordshire

What You Eat Plays an Important Role in Your Oral Health

Why is a healthy diet so important for good oral health?

Proper nutrition means eating a well-balanced diet so that your body can get the nutrients needed for good health and wellness. If your diet is low in the nutrients your body needs, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection. This may contribute to gum disease which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

A poor diet can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Foods high in carbohydrates, sugars and starches greatly contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Eventually, these acids can cause tooth enamel to break down, forming a cavity.

What are the foods you should avoid or limit?

  • Too much sugary food and drinks
  • Avoid any foods that stick to your teeth, because these can produce more plaque
  • Too many citrus fruits can be acidic and break down enamel
  • Coffee, tea and red wine can stain teeth
  • Toffees can crack teeth

What are the good foods and drink for oral health

  • Water is the best drink for maintaining your oral health.
  • Phosphorus-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs help to strengthen your teeth
  • Fruits and vegetables are an important part of any balanced diet, and they are also good for your teeth. Since they are high in water and fibre, they help to balance the sugars they contain and help to clean your teeth.
  • Nuts contain protein and minerals important for overall health. In addition, nuts that are low in carbohydrates don’t add to your risk of cavities. Plus, chewing nuts stimulates saliva production, which can reduce your risk for tooth decay.
  • Dairy products contain calcium and they neutralise enamel destroying acids

Keeping your and your family’s teeth healthy, depends on cleaning in between your teeth once a day, brushing your teeth twice a day, and seeing your dentist regularly, but your diet also plays a role in the health of your teeth. Foods containing sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. You don’t need to avoid them altogether, but making them a treat will help protect your teeth for years to come.

If you wish to discuss your families dental health or require dental health advice, please all the dental surgery on 01543 411 088 to make an appointment.

We look forward to meeting you at Spires Dental in Lichfield soon.

 

The Effect of Sugar on Your Teeth

It will come to no surprise to you that sugar is bad for your teeth. Frequent sugar consumption can lead to poor oral health. The most common complaint when visiting the dentist is sugar related problems.

Recently it has been reported by The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons that baby teeth loss has increased by 24% in the last decade due to sugary diets

Tooth decay is preventable in both adults and children by reducing the frequency with which we consume sugary food and drink, visiting the dentist regularly and brushing teeth twice a day.

How Sugar can cause cavities ?

Depending on the amount, type and form of sugar consumed it can depend on the severity of the impact on your teeth but the effects remain the same – cavities. How often you consume sugar has the biggest effect not the amount consumed.  For example, a can of fizzy drink is not as harmful to your tooth enamel if you drink all of it in a few minutes versus sipping the can over a few hours.

Plaque, is always forming on your teeth and gums and plaque contains bacteria. The bacteria contained in the plaque feeds on the sugar in foods you eat or drink. Acids are created in about 20 seconds and last for about 30 minutes. Those acids can destroy your tooth enamel over time. Acidic environments promote cavities.

How can cavities be prevented?

Even though sugar is in almost everything we eat, it is possible to prevent tooth decay by:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice each day
  • Cleaning between your teeth at least once each day
  • Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash
  • Seeing your dentist at least twice a year for teeth cleaning and check-ups
  • Avoiding food and drinks high in sugar, such as fizzy drinks, juice and sweets, in between meals.

How to reduce sugar in your daily diet

Go a step farther, reduce your overall sugar consumption by incorporating these steps into you and your families lives

  • Eat a good breakfast – Some breakfast cereals contain high levels of sugar, therefore switching to a lower sugar cereal and not adding sugar yourself will have a massive impact on your dental health. Eating a good breakfast will also reduce snacking later in the morning
  • Healthy snacks – Snacks such as nuts, sugar free snacks and vegetables provide great alternatives to biscuits as they provide that energy boost you need.
  • Check the sugar quantity on products – Look out for the traffic system on products and check the sugar quantity before you buy
  • Don’t add sugar to anything – try to stop adding sugar to your cereal, coffee and tea
  • Don’t eat anything the hour before you go to bed
  • Don’t have too many smoothies – Eat fruit whole as when eating fruit in smoothies it releases sugars which will coat the whole tooth
  • Cut back on alcohol – Alcoholic drinks account for 11% of the UK population’s daily intake of added sugar. Try to moderate the amount of alcoholic drinks you have and have some water nearby as it helps wash some of the sugar from the mouth.

If you have any queries about anything you’ve read in my blog please email me at stuart@spiresdental.co.uk or call 01543 411 088 to book a consultation or seek further dental health advice.

 

How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

A survey by Public Health England has revealed that one in ten three-year-olds have tooth decay. Toddlers had an average of three teeth that were decayed, missing or filled.

There are some simple steps that parents can follow to prevent this:

  • Avoid sugary drinks and snacks – The British Nutrition Foundation advices that foods and drinks containing sugar should be kept to mealtimes only. The more often your toddler has sugary foods or drinks, the more likely they are to get tooth decay. As a dentist, I recommend that children should have sugar-containing foods and drinks no more than four times a day.
  • What are good snacks – snacks such as fruit and raw vegetables, including tangerines, bananas, pieces of cucumber or carrot sticks. Other good snacks include toast, rice cakes and plain popcorn. Plus, limit the sugary drinks, water and milk are the best drinks for toddlers.
  • Brush teeth twice a day – Thorough brushing for two minutes, twice a day, once before bed, will help to prevent tooth decay using a small pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. As a dentist, I advise that you should start brushing children’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears and supervise their tooth brushing until they are seven or eight years old.
  • Regular dental check-ups – we offer free children’s dental check-ups for existing patients. Children’s examinations are held on a Monday during school half term in Feb, July & October. The next one scheduled is 31st July so call our reception and get your child booked in for a quick check up.

This is what I advise for children’s teeth

There are three main things that we feel are very important when taking care of your children’s teeth:

  1. AVOID SUGAR IN BETWEEN MEALS – the single most important thing that you need to do is train your children, and their guardians, that sugar in between meals will ALWAYS rot/decay the child’s teeth.  The quantity is not relevant, it is the frequency of exposure of sugar that matters.  Our advice is simple- only allow your children to have sugar with one of their three meals a day.  Simple J.
  1. FLUORIDE IS AWESOME –  We advise that fluoride is used twice a day via an age appropriate children’s tooth paste.  Only small amounts are required so we recommend dipping the toothbrush into the toothpaste itself.  If the child eats too much toothpaste they may end up with Fluorosis (white/brown mottling on their adult teeth).
  1. USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH –  Cleaning your own teeth is hard, cleaning someone else’s is even harder.  Now try it on a 2-year-old.  It therefore makes sense to use the best tool we have to clean the teeth and that is an electric toothbrush.  Sometimes it’s easier to start with a child’s battery powered toothbrush but we advise moving up to a rechargeable brush as soon as you can.

Obviously it is also important to allow us to see your child for a dental examination at least once a year so we can ensure you are doing the right things and that the teeth are developing normally.

Call us today on 01543 411 088 if you would like to receive further advice and achieve better dental health for your children in Lichfield and Staffordshire.

 

The importance of dental check ups

The importance of dental check ups

More and more people only visit the dentist when they have a problem. By having infrequent check-ups, it has meant that 31% of adults have tooth decay, 66% having visible plaque and 29% are suffering from toothache.

Many of us ignore the health of our mouth and ignore problems until it is too late.

How often should you visit the dentist?

At Spires, we offer consultations where you can attend and see our dentist who will advise if you need to visit yearly or every six months. As well as visiting the dentist for checks ups it is important to visit the hygienist who will thoroughly clean your teeth and remove any hard plaque that builds up where you miss with your cleaning.

Why are dental checks ups and hygienist appointments so important?

Prevention is everything in dentistry.  Dentistry itself is not an alternative to your teeth; it is merely an alternative to having a problem that could have been prevented.

By ignoring the health of your mouth problems cannot be detected earlier. For instance, regular hygienist appointments can ensure your gum health is maintained preventing bone loss around your teeth as well as the smells and tastes that gum infection causes.

Regular dental checks ups can detect the beginnings of tooth decay which if undetected can result in a lot of pain, root canal treatment or an extensive fillings. By visiting the dentist, it means this can be identified earlier and treated with as little work as possible- we don’t need to fill teeth with early decay, instead we can advise you about the problem and employ preventative measures to stop it spreading.

By having regular check-ups can therefore be more cost effective than having to pay for expensive dental work such as tooth replacements, fillings, crowns and treatment of advanced gum disease.

What are the health factors associated with bad oral hygiene?

We are seeing an increasing amount of evidence in the dental literature that unhealthy gums can lead to other health problems:

1.     Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke

People who have a periodontal disease (gum disease) are twice as likely to develop heart disease because of the narrowing of the arteries that causes plaque and bacteria to get into the blood stream through the mouth and gums.

2.     Risk of Dementia

Poor oral health and tooth loss can increase your risk of suffering from memory loss at an early age. If your gums become inflamed due to infection, this can also cause brain inflammation which could cause death of certain brain cells.

3.     Respiratory Problems

The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can travel through the bloodstream and in to your lungs where it can impact the respiratory system.

4.     Cancer

The number of mouth cancer patients has grown in the past ten years with more than 6,700 people diagnosed in 2015. Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat. Regular checks ups can help detect the early signs of mouth cancer.

The cost of checks ups

By not taking good care of your oral health it can lead to severe health problems, and expensive dental bills that could have been avoided.

The myth is that private dentistry is expensive however a 20 minute full dental examination is just £44. A 30 minute routine hygienist appointment to remove all the build up and staining around your teeth is £58. Plus, you can spread the cost of your dental care by paying monthly payments of £11.55. Find out more here.

Therefore, if you haven’t been to see your dentist for a while use this blog post as a reminder and motivation to book your appointment today.