Dental experts share tips for parents ahead of National Smile Month

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Dental experts have shared helpful tips for parents to reduce the risk of decay and other oral diseases ahead of this year’s National Smile Month campaign.

The annual campaign, which is run by the Oral Health Foundation, aims to raise awareness of the importance of taking care of the teeth and gums to promote good oral and general health. With the 2021 campaign set to launch on the 17th May, the Oral Health Foundation has shared useful advice for parents to help their children enjoy healthy smiles.

Dr Ben Atkins, CEO of the foundation, explained that it’s crucial that parents provide their children with the knowledge and tools they need to look after their teeth from an early age. The key messages for parents and carers to take on board include encouraging twice-daily brushing, keeping an eye on diet, particularly sugar intake, and attending regular dental appointments.

The latest statistics from Public Health England suggest that over 10% of 3-year-olds have signs of decay. This figure rises to over 23% for five-year-olds in England. Tooth decay is the most common reason children are admitted for hospital treatment in the UK.

Dentist and mum of two, Susie Lloyd, from Bupa Dental, suggested that it can be challenging for parents to make healthy choices for their children, especially as many popular products that are marketed as healthy foods and drinks actually contain a lot of sugar. Examples include shop-bought smoothies and fruit juices and dried fruit snacks.

The Oral Health Foundation is encouraging parents to take their children to the dentist on a regular basis from the age of 1-2 years old, supervise and help with brushing, opt for fluoride toothpaste and encourage gentle brushing. Children should also be given water to go to bed with and dentists also advise against snacking and drinking sugary drinks between meals.

National Smile Month will run from May 17th to June 17th.

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