Dental experts offer parents advice

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Parents are constantly bombarded with advice and information about what to feed their kids, how to put them to bed and how to keep them safe and healthy; however, even the most health-conscious parents may be giving their children foods and drinks that may be damaging their teeth.

For many years now, there has been a boost in advertising and marketing surrounding healthy eating and eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day; however, dental experts are warning parents against potential perils of so-called healthy foods. Foods such as dried raisins and drinks including fruit juices and fruit smoothies are actually packed full of sugar and this can have a detrimental effect on teeth. Dr Nigel Carter, from the British Dental Health Foundation, said that juices and smoothies often have very high sugar content, which encourages bacteria to attack and break down the protective enamel surfaces of the teeth.

Many parents give  their children fruit juices and smoothies because children like them and it is an easy way for them to encourage their children to eat fruit and vegetables; in order to reduce the harmful effects of these drinks, dentists are encouraging parents to dilute drinks with still water and buy sugar free alternatives.

Bedtime bottles may also cause problems for oral health; many children have a bottle of milk to help them drop off to sleep at night but this can contribute to troubles because milk contains sugar and the teeth are at their most vulnerable during the night. Dental experts recommend giving children a bottle slightly earlier in the evening and then giving them a bottle of water after they have brushed their teeth.

In order to boost children’s oral health, dentists are encouraging parents to get their children involved in oral hygiene from a young age; experts recommend instilling teeth cleaning as part of the daily routine as soon as a child starts to develop teeth. Parents are also encouraged to take their children to see a dentist from the age of one; this will help them to build a good relationship with their dentist, which will reduce the risk of dental phobia in the future, as well as promoting good oral health. Parents are also encouraged to keep a close eye on their child’s diet, as sugary and acidic foods can be very harmful for the teeth and gums.

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