Seven steps to protect your kids’ teeth

iStock_000014584757_NewBeing a parent is a massive learning curve and with so much conflicting advice around, it can be hard to know what’s right and who’s right. So, our rt healthy teeth Dentist, Dr Lincoln Law, shares his advice on protecting your kids’ teeth now and into the future.

1. Don’t feed the feeders. If you’re thinking about giving your child lollies, think again. ‘The trouble with lollies is that they stick to the teeth. This provides ongoing food for oral bacteria, which feed on the sugars. They then produce acidic waste, which can cause tooth decay,’ says Lincoln.

2. If they must have a treat, make sure they have it with a meal. When you chew, your mouth automatically produces saliva, which helps to kick-start the digestion of starches. Saliva also lubricates food for easier swallowing plus it helps to wash away food debris. This helps to clean the teeth and the mouth giving mouth bacteria less chance to eat food left behind.

3. Don’t brush immediately after eating. ‘This is especially so if your kids have been consuming acidic foods and drinks (like fruit juices and soft drinks),’ says Dr Law. ‘It’s important to wait for at least half an hour before brushing. This is because acids soften the enamel so if you get your kids to brush too quickly afterwards, they could literally be brushing the enamel away. So, get your kids brushing twice a day, before eating in the morning and before bed – preferably about an hour after the last meal or drink of the day (unless that drink is water).

4. Go with H2O. The natural way to quench thirst is with water, which has the added bonus of being sugar and acid free.

Happy child playing on green grass outdoors in spring park

Plus, most areas in Australia have fluoride added to the water supply, which helps to harden and protect kids’ and adults’ teeth.

5. Try sugar-free gum. If your kids are old enough, chewing sugar-free gum after eating sugary and/or acidic food and drink is a good idea. It stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to cleanse the mouth.

6. See them? Clean them. ‘It’s vital that you start looking after your kids’ teeth as soon as they appear. Milk teeth (baby teeth) for example, serve a long-term purpose – they hold the space in the jaw for the adult teeth to come through. And, if milk teeth are lost, there may not be enough space for the adult teeth, resulting in the need for orthodontic treatment. Early dental visits are also important to ensure that children don’t associate a visit to the dentist with fear. Plus, good teeth boost children’s self esteem. To clean your child’s teeth, use a child’s toothbrush (which is small enough to get to the back teeth) and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Remember, your kids don’t have the dexterity to clean their teeth until they can tie their shoelaces. They’ll need to be taught good oral health habits – so show them early on and lead by example,’ advises Lincoln Law.

7. Ask your dentist. There may be certain treatments that your dentist can use to protect teeth. Take dental sealants, for example, which are a thin layer of plastic-like material. Your dentist will brush them into the grooves of chewing teeth, i.e. the molars, which helps to provide a barrier against attacking mouth bacteria. These sealants help to protect the deep areas in the mouth, which can be a challenge to reach with a toothbrush.

Dr Lincoln Law is a practising dentist at rt healthy teeth, 1 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010. We are conveniently located close to Central Station. Just use the Chalmers Street exit and walk up Devonshire Street.

To make an appointment to see Dr Lincoln Law or to see one of our other caring dentists, call 1300 991 044.

For more information see our website.

Lincoln Law[1]
Dr Lincoln Law from rt healthy teeth
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5 thoughts on “Seven steps to protect your kids’ teeth”

  1. Thanks for the tips! It’s interesting that dental sealants can be used to help protect my child’s teeth from bacteria. My child maintains good oral hygiene, but he somehow has two cavities at the age of six years old. If I were to have sealants put on his molars, would they grow with his teeth, or do they have to be replaced every year or so? It would be nice to know that his teeth will be protected by a layer that will ward away bacteria from eating away at his teeth.

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    1. Sealants are designed to act as a protective barrier against plaque bacteria by filling in the deep grooves of a tooth, thereby making them easier to clean. When applied well, a sealant can last many years; though over time it’s not uncommon for them to wear away and need to be replaced. But, with regular check-ups they can be looked after very easily. With some sealant materials that contain fluoride, even if the sealant does break away, the fluoride that was released by the sealant material can still have a protective benefit. Even so it would be better to have it re-sealed. Talk to your dentist for more advice. Hope that helps!

      Dr Lincoln Law

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  2. I know I always worry about my kids’ teeth. I actually didn’t know about your third tip. It makes a lot of sense to be careful when you brush your teeth. I’ll make sure that I follow that better from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My wife and I have three little kids and getting them to brush even once a day is worse than pulling teeth. I love them to death but I really worry about their teeth sometimes. We try to get them to eat healthy because I know that when they get a cavity, they will wish that they had listened! We are looking for a great pediatric dental care institution here in Clifton, NJ. Thanks for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a well-written article! Thanks for sharing this with us—it’s been very informative! I’ve been thinking about my child’s dental health recently, and I’ve decided that I’m going to put more of an effort into protecting their teeth. I’ll be sure to follow your recommendation by discussing better dental routines with my dentist—thanks for the tip!

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