Recent studies have found that tooth decay is a growing problem for more and more young children. Tooth decay is caused when the bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugars in foods and drinks, this bacteria produces an acid which attacks the outer surface of the tooth. At first this is repaired by the saliva, but over time if there is more damage being done than repair the tooth will start to decay. Severe tooth decay in infants or young children is referred to as ‘Early Childhood Caries’ or more commonly known as ‘Baby bottle Caries’. Although there are many ways to spot tooth decay in children, the earlier it is caught the easier it is for it to be reversed.
Here are signs of tooth decay as it progresses:
- A dull white band on the surface of the tooth close to the gum. This usually goes undetected by the child’s carers.
- A yellow, brown or black band on the tooth surface close to the gum indicates the progression to decay.
- Teeth that look like brownish black stumps indicate that the child has advanced decay.
There are many ways to prevent tooth decay in children. It is recommend that both adults and children see the dentist at least
once every 6 months. It is also recommended children aged 3 and under should use a small rice sized amount of toothpaste when brushing their teeth, before then working up to a pea sized amount for older children. It is also important to make sure that children brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes.
Tops Day Nurseries run a tooth brushing programme in the aim to help prevent tooth decay and encourage dental hygiene. The children are encouraged to use a small amount of fluoride tooth paste for 2 minutes at least once a day. During this time children are supervised to make sure they are brushing effectively and for the right amount of time.
It is also important to encourage children to eat the right food, in hopes of educating them to protect their teeth from harmful chemicals that can be found in a number of different foods. At Tops Day Nurseries, we have implemented a no-added sugar menu, to ensure that the children at our nurseries have a well-balanced diet throughout the day as well as reduced sugar intake. This menu not only helps to protect their teeth but helps with other aspects of their lives, such as health, growth and development.
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