Don’t we love to see kids smile? And what makes a smile beautiful but healthy pearly white teeth. While we are concerned how young children are prone to tooth decay and other dental problems, parents must know that the basics of diet and dental care are simple and easy to follow and teach. And the earlier kids learn, the better it is, for healthy teeth at a young age means fewer problems in adulthood. Simple things like making foods that need plenty of chewing and that contain plenty of calcium a part of your daily diet, having sweet treats in moderation, are the key ingredients for a dazzling smile.
So How Do We Get Tooth Decay?
Teeth are the hardest form of tissue in our body. Nevertheless, they still need to be protected. Minute organisms, known as bacteria, can settle on the teeth and form plaque, which attacks and destroys the substance of the tooth. Practically everyone has these bacteria present in their mouths. How well they thrive depends, first and foremost, on how we look after our teeth. The food we put into our mouths is also crucial. The bacteria that lead to tooth decay feed on carbohydrates and sugars and convert them into acid. These acids can ultimately attack tooth enamel and dissolve minerals. This causes minute amounts of damage to the tooth's enamel, which can lead to cavities over a period of time.
To a certain extent, our saliva can protect and repair our teeth. This natural defence mechanism washes the teeth and neutralises undesirable acids. It also contains minerals calcium and phosphate, which are stored as components directly in the tooth enamel. Saliva also works as a rinsing fluid that washes away food residues and acids from the mouth.
Tip: Make sure that your children eat plenty of fibre-rich food every day. This stimulates chewing and thus the flow of saliva. Wholegrain bread, crisp breads and crunchy raw vegetables are ideal. Sugar-free chewing gum also stimulates the flow of saliva.
Balanced Diet, Better Teeth
A balanced diet that provides all the nutrients you need for the healthy development of teeth. It is particularly important to make sure you get enough tooth-building calcium. Calcium can be found predominantly in milk and dairy products, such as yoghurt, cheese, paneer, etc.
Go Easy on the Sweet Stuff
Make sure that your little ones eat sweets only in moderation and, preferably, after they have eaten a proper meal. If they are always reaching for sweets between meals, their teeth will be constantly bathed in a sugar solution, which will encourage bacteria to forms acids that cause tooth decay. Go for sweets that contain less sugar and remind your children to clean their teeth afterwards. Acidic foods, such as citrus fruit and acidic fruit juices can also damage teeth as they directly attack tooth enamel. Enjoy these acidic foods by all means, but make sure you wait at least half an hour afterwards before you clean your teeth. That will give your saliva time to neutralise the acids.
Caring For Your Baby’s Teeth
Mums or dads should be cleaning their baby's first milk teeth after every meal. It will encourage your child to clean their own teeth if it has already been established as part of their daily routine. Up to the age of 8 you should check, at least in the evenings, that your child has cleaned their teeth properly and clean them again if necessary.
A Few Good Things To Do:
- Clean them at least twice a day. However, best of all is to clean them after every meal. Start by rinsing your mouth and then brush for at least three minutes
- Always clean your teeth systematically. Brush the outer surfaces and chewing surfaces with a circular motion. Brush inner surfaces away from the gum to the end of the tooth – from red to white. Brush front teeth individually with the brush at an angle to the surface
- After enjoying any acidic food, wait half an hour before cleaning your teeth to avoid damaging any tooth enamel
- Use children's toothbrushes with a non-slip grip, a rounded head and soft rounded bristles