There is one disease that affects 50% of Australian children under the age of six that can cause pain and bad breath and at its worst can result in teeth needing to be extracted. Did we mention that this is happening to kids under the age of six?
If your child wasn’t already nervous enough about seeing the dentist for the first time, then can you imagine how they’ll react when they find out they need a tooth taken out too? Not even promises of Peppa Pig episodes or that new remote control car will help stop the tears now.
When we think of disease we think of something that’s unavoidable and very serious. So why is it when we mention tooth decay people seem to shrug their shoulders and carry on?
That’s right, the terrible disease that we’re talking about is tooth decay and if you’re one of those people shrugging their shoulders then we might just remind you that 50% of Australian children under the age of six have it and it’s not fun (read: can cause pain and tooth extractions).
The good news is, tooth decay is easily prevented and early decay can be reversed.
How to stop decay in toddlers
Forming good habits from an early age is of the utmost importance when it comes to preventing tooth decay. The way you teach your child to care for their teeth will shape how they care for their teeth in the future. So here are a few tips to prevent your child from becoming another innocent victim of tooth decay.
- Brush thoroughly twice a day. It seems simple but you’d be surprised at how many children we see that don’t follow this number 1 rule.
- Diet – Stop the excessive amounts of sugar. Too much of it and your child’s teeth are at serious risk of tooth decay. Besides the obvious culprits like chocolate, lollies and fast food, be on the look out for fruit juices and muesli bars which can have a lot of hidden sugar.
- Constant snacking – Keep snacking to a minimum and don’t eat more than a maximum of 5 times a day. Even though children seem to be constantly hungry, try to limit them to set meal times because every time they eat, bacteria attack their teeth leading to the increased risk of tooth decay.
Babies can get tooth decay too. Avoid giving your baby a bottle of flavoured milk or fruit juice because every time you do, you are exposing them to high concentrations of sugar.
how to check if your child has decay
- Lift up their top lip and roll down their bottom lip so you can see the gums
- Check for white patches on their teeth that are close to the gums that don’t come off after brushing
- If you see any grey, brown or black spots anywhere on the teeth you should have this checked right away
- If your child complains of a sore tooth or regularly has bad breath then this could also indicate tooth decay
Small changes can make a big difference so by following these tips and ensuring you child has a dental check up every 6 months, you’ll be taking a stand against tooth decay.