Here’s the key graphic as discussed in my lecture for Colgate. Click the image to view full size.
Government figures just released show that hospital operations to remove children’s teeth owing to tooth decay have increased to nearly 43,000 per year. TV channels and newspapers picked up the story and it received extensive coverage. In my role as a trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, I was interviewed by the Huffington Post to provide advice for anxious parents looking to protect their children’s teeth from decay.
Too much sugar
Children are simply getting too much sugar on a daily basis. Adults may be getting the message about ‘hidden’ sugar in food and drink but children may struggle to understand that their favourite soft drink is full of sugar. I’d advise parents to actually show them the equivalent teaspoons of sugar – it makes it much easier for them to see what you are talking about.
Get to know your dentist
Establishing a good relationship between a child and a dentist is also really important. Children are often more likely to listen to a dental professional talking to them about their oral health than they are to their mum or dad. Visiting the dentist regularly from birth means it’s not a scary event and takes anxiety away from children and their parents alike.
Good brushing habits
Regular teeth brushing twice a day, closely supervised until children are around seven years old is essential. Technology is a great way of engaging children with brushing as well – there are loads of apps and mobile games that encourage good habits. Simple things like reward charts for making healthy food choices and getting a toothbrush with their favourite character on work well too.