Mum’s the word for healthy teeth

The Royal College of Surgeons has warned that many hospitals are inundated by the number of children admitted with tooth decay. Urgent action is needed, it says, to reduce the number of children with rotten teeth who need surgery to have them removed.

Figures show that almost 26,000 children between the ages of five and nine went to hospital in England because of tooth decay in 2013-2014. However in 2011, the figure was 14 percent lower.

The number one weapon in the fight against tooth decay in children is the nation’s mums, says the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF). According to a report published by the BDHF, more than two in three people in this country say it’s our mum who taught us how to brush our teeth as a child. And now, mums are being encouraged to be even more vigilant when it comes to their child’s oral health.

“Numerous studies have shown that children who learn good habits early are far more likely to carry them into adulthood and the ability to pick up a solid oral health routine is no different,” says Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the BDHF, who advises parents to supervise their children’s brushing until they reach the age of seven.

“Ensure that cleaning your baby’s teeth becomes part of their daily hygiene routine. As a parent you may find it easier to stand or sit behind your baby, cradling their chin in your hand so you can reach their top and bottom teeth more easily.

“When the first teeth start to come through, try using a children’s toothbrush with a small smear of toothpaste.  Once all the teeth have come through, use a small-headed soft toothbrush in small circular movements and try to concentrate on one section at a time.

“The most important point to emphasise is arguably you ensure your child brushes for the full two minutes, as children are often renowned for their short attention spans so this may require more observation. It will help their development if you use a toothbrush with a small, medium soft head on it and should brush their teeth using a pea-sized blob of fluoride toothpaste. Encourage your child to spit out any toothpaste and not to rinse after brushing.”

You can get all the products you need to keep your childs teeth healthy at your local pharmacy, including the right type of toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for your childs age. To find your nearest local pharmacy, use our Pharmacy Finder.