In September 2021, the Early Years Foundation Stage(EYFS) implemented some adjustments to their framework meaning that this past year, child care providers all over the UK have been taking a closer look into ‘oral health’ than ever before due to an aim in reducing tooth decay. But despite the obvious; brushing teeth twice a day and avoiding too many sugary foods, what else could we bare in mind whilst we encourage our children to look after their teeth from an early age?
What is tooth decay?
Also known as cavities, which occurs when the hard surface of your teeth gets damaged by a combination of factors such as consuming a lot of foods and drinks containing high sugar, failing to clean teeth well and constant snacking. Decay is the result of too much plaque acid build up.
Highly sugary foods that may lead to decay if consumed frequently include cakes and biscuits, sweets and chocolate, flavoured milk and yoghurt, sugary cereals, jams and sauces such as ketchup.
All these foods are quick, easy and our children enjoy eating them but tooth decay is the highest hospital admission for children requiring tooth extraction in the UK, so it’s really important that we encourage healthy habits and try to swap out that sugar for healthier alternatives. For example, a white bread and jam sandwich- contains around 24g of sugar, why not swap this for a cream cheese and cucumber wrap- containing only around 2g! Get the children involved with the preparation of their meals too! The pride they will feel after creating something themselves will encourage them to make healthier choices and enjoy doing so!
Keep an eye out on Hatching Dragon’s weekly blog for some healthy recipes soon! We would also love it if you shared some of your families favourite healthy recipes too!
Tips from a dentist 🦷
• After consuming a food containing high sugar like sweets or biscuits, try following it up with a slice of cheese. This helps your mouth produce saliva that balances the pH levels and neutralises the acid in the sugar, meaning less likelyhood of cavities forming.
• Encourage any concentrated drinks to be drank from an open cup. Using straws can cause a strong stream of liquid to hit the same teeth, leading to decay!
•Electric tooth brushes are also great for children who are learning to brush their teeth themselves as they are learning to control their fine motor skills.
• The first check up at the dentist should be arranged within 6 months of your child’s first tooth appearing. Find your closest NHS dentist here