Teeth. You will never talk more about teeth in your life until you have kids.

The early years are spent coping with your child teething. Watching those little beauties cut through their gums is equal parts exhilarating and excruciating and then the excitement of losing those exact same teeth that kept everyone awake at night is almost incomprehensible. There’s no doubt about it, your kids’ growing teeth take a lot of your attention but what about caring for them?

According to The Australian Dental Association, tooth decay is considered to be Australia’s most common chronic disease for children and five times more prevalent than asthma. It’s also one that is almost entirely preventable.

Tooth decay is a process that can result in cavity (hole) formation if not treated early. The outer layer of the tooth enamel is made up of mineral crystals. When  plaque is allowed to remain on and between the teeth, the acids produced by plaque bacteria cause microscopic loss of the enamel’s essential minerals. These acids are formed by plaque bacteria when they break down sugars from the foods and drinks we consume.

Research conducted by Colgate has revealed that according to Aussie parents 780,000 Aussie kids between 6 and 14 years have at least one cavity. While nearly all Aussie parents (96 per cent) try to manage their child’s sugar intake on an ongoing basis, 4 in 5 (82 per cent) admit to allowing their child to have foods with considerable sugar content once a week or more.

We already know the important role that a healthy diet plays in the protection and development of strong teeth but how do we teach our children to take good care of their teeth? Dr. Sue Cartwright, Scientific Affairs Manager, Colgate Oral Care says that there are ways to help protect children’s teeth from the harmful effects of sugar. The answer lies in a consistent, daily oral health-care routine.

Dr Susan Cartwright has these to tips to help children brush:

  • Start early with babies- as soon as the first tooth erupts
  • Make brushing a game- sing along, tell a story
  • Make brushing a part of the bath routine
  • Set the example – show children how you brush your own teeth
  • Use age appropriate brushes and paste
  • Always brush after the last food/drink has been consumed and at one other time in the day
  • Always assist children under the age of 8 yrs

She also has general tips for prevention – basic principles everyone in the family can follow to reduce the risk of tooth decay:

  • Brushing teeth night and day
  • Limiting the intake of sugary and starchy foods
  • Reducing the number of times you snack between meals
  • Scheduling regular visits with a dentist to look for signs of early tooth decay
  • Flossing every day

Need more help to get your kids excited about brushing? Download these free printables to make oral care fun!

DOWNLOAD – Brush Like a Tooth Defender Chart

DOWNLOAD – Plaque Catcher Game

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