Children’s tooth decay is becoming more common. The number of children under 12 years of age with fillings is rapidly increasing, and has more than doubled since 1970.
Baby teeth (also called ‘deciduous teeth’) decay more quickly and easily than adult teeth. High levels of sugar and acidity in your child’s mouth can cause their baby teeth to decay.
To reduce tooth decay, it’s important to monitor how much sugar is in your child’s diet. This isn’t just ‘bad’ sugar like lollies, cordial and biscuits. So-called ‘healthy’ foods such as fruit, juice, milk and even white bread, all also contain high levels of hidden sugar.
If your child frequently sips from a bottle or cup, make sure they are only drinking water. The frequency of sugar intake is more relevant than the quantity of sugar itself. It’s better for your child’s teeth to eat one high-sugar item and then have a glass of water, than if they were to sip on cordial or juice over the entire day. The sugar increases the acidity in your child’s saliva, which is then washing over their teeth throughout the day.
While a treat is okay now and then, encourage your kids to drink water and avoid giving them juices, cordials or milk to get them to sleep.
It can be difficult to avoid sugary snacks. Home made food is usually better for their teeth than pre-packaged foods, and they can get involved in preparing and cooking.
Children under the age of 12 who have fillings are three times more likely to need extensive dental treatment in their adulthood, so set your kids up for a lifetime of healthy teeth but brushing, flossing and limiting their sugar intake.
For the best dental care, schedule regular 6-monthly dental check-ups with your local My Kids Dentist to ensure your children’s teeth stay healthy.