Children and their teeth

When Tilly was just 3, she ended up having her teeth checked by the dentist as I was booked in and he said he would check her teeth whilst I was there.

This sounds easier than it was!  Getting a shy and quite scared 3 year old to open her mouth so a complete stranger could stare at her close range was a bit of a nightmare.  I was quite happy to 'leave it for another time', however he was not quite ready to give up the fight.  An entire album of stickers later, the dentist won! Of course Tilly's teeth were fine; after all, they were merely a year old!

I have always been told 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away', well apparently it doesn't keep the dentist away!   I actually came away a little paranoid about giving her acidic fruit and snacks.  The dentist's advice was to only give sweet snacks and fruit juices at meal times and to brush straight after.  This is fantastic advice in the ideal world but it just isn't practical advice.  I do try to follow this rule when I can but even crèche’s and schools don't follow this advice!  Yes, I try to give the girls as much water as possible and to only give fruit juice at meal times but sometimes they want a bit of juice particularly if we are on a trip out.  I'm not a huge advocate of sugar free cordials for kids as I just don't think the added chemicals are good for them, it may save their teeth but goodness knows what it is doing to their little bodies.  Fructose in the juices is at least a natural sugar.  I prefer the girls to have natural fruit juices which I then water down.

Sometimes I remember to brush the girls' teeth if they've had a snack during the day but I'm not perfect and often this just isn't practical as I don't carry their toothbrushes around with me.  I do however try my best to mainly give them water where possible.  I have found a good way to persuade them is the promise of iced water, they love the cold ice cubes to crunch on.

Going back to one of my previous posts, this is why I really do not like Lollipops; all I can say is that they cannot have been invented by a parent!  Teeth are essentially getting bathed in sugar, not to mention the risk of choking if the whole lollipop slides off or they break it into two large pieces whilst simultaneously chipping their little teeth.  As you can see, I am not a fan!

On the whole I hope I'm giving the girls good advice on looking after their teeth.  I refuse to make them paranoid about eating fruit or drinking fruit juice but I try to get them to choose water where possible.  If I applied the same rule to myself then really I shouldn't drink as much coffee or tea as I do but I'm afraid it is one of life’s pleasures that I am not about to sacrifice for perfectly white teeth!  However, on the whole I hope we have the balance right, we heed the dentists advice (after all my father in law is a retired dentist) but we apply a little common sense!

The NHS website advises:

"Don't give biscuits or sweets as treats. Ask relatives and friends to do the same. Use items such as stickers, badges, hair slides, crayons, small books, notebooks, colouring books, soap and bubble baths. They may be more expensive than sweets but they last longer".

I actually like this advice as it sits well on my 'treats' rule and is a guilt free way of rewarding your child and the 'treat' lasts a lot longer than a lollipop!

Please see the following link for more advice:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/teething-and-tooth-care.aspx