After the Easter Bunny visited over the weekend I’m sure your cupboards will be packed full with left over Easter treats. With this in mind here are a few tips to help prevent an enjoyable Easter weekend becoming an emergency trip to the dentist to treat tooth decay or pain.
Limit sugars and acids
Did you know that its not the amount of sugar or acid that you ingest that causes tooth decay but the frequency that its consumed.
When you eat or drink a sugary/acidic substances they reduce the PH in the mouth to a acidic level. Frequent snacking on these foods prevents the PH in the mouth returning to normal and this is when decay (caries) can occur, so limit your sugars and acids to meal times.
Try to choose alternative snacks and drinks for in-between meals i.e.: plain water or milk and cheese or bread sticks etc.
If you are going to tuck into a little bit of left over Easter egg it is better to eat it all at once, straight after a meal, rather than picking at it. Perhaps try to pick one day a week for these types of treats, remember they are called treats for a reason.
Check the back of packaging for hidden sugars in other foods and drinks that you are consuming. Some products advertised as ‘heathy’ often contain a lot of sugar for example Honey, raisins , fruit juices and smoothies all contain a lot of sugar – adding to your daily intake. Even sugar free fizzy drinks still contain a lot of harmful acids that can cause tooth decay.
The NHS recommends no more the 30 grams of sugar a day for an adult. No more than 24 g per day for 7-10 year olds and no more the 19g per day for under 7 year olds.
Mechanical removal of the plaque and food substances sitting on the teeth is hugely important in preventing tooth decay.
We should all brush our teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening (Make sure you only ingest plain water after this evening clean). Brushing should take a minimum of 2minutes with either an electric or small headed manual toothbrush and children under the age of 8 years old will need parental support.
Cleaning in between the teeth daily is also extremely important, this is often the place where tooth decay will begin. Your dentist or hygiene therapist will be able to advise you the best interdental aids for your mouth, for example floss or tepes and the appropriate sizes
Using a fluoride toothpaste helps to strengthen the prisms that the tooth compromises of, helping to prevent tooth decay. When using a fluoride toothpaste, it is advised that your spit out the excess toothpaste after brushing but avoid rinsing out and therefore rinsing away the fluoride.
On the back of every toothpaste it will have the fluoride content, it is measured in parts per million (PPM)
Under 3’s should use a smear of toothpaste up to 1000ppm – you should start brushing your children’s teeth as soon as their first tooth erupts in the mouth.
3-6 year olds should be using 1000ppm -1350ppm
Over 6 year olds should be using a pea size amount 1350ppm-1500ppm
Your dentist may request for you or your child to using a stronger fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash depending on your dental history or dental conditions.
It is highly recommended that you visit your dentist every 6months for a check-up unless the dentist states otherwise.
We recommend children having check-ups from a young age to establish good habits and to build their trust and confidence in the dental setting, before any treatment is required.
Your dentist may suggest taking x-rays or photographs to help diagnose and or monitor decay, Decay is not always obvious visually, sometimes patients may be unaware of any issues meaning regular check-ups and the use of x-rays and photographs where appropriate are important.
Catching decay early is essential, this means it can be more easily managed and can help to prevent complex treatments such as root canals and, extractions as well as helping to keep the patient out of any discomfort.
Dental visits are also extremely important to check for any other problems in or around the mouth, for example, problems with the jaw, grinding of the teeth, signs of mouth cancer of gum disease. Its also an opportunity to help you tweak your home care routine.
So happy Easter to you all, we hope you enjoy the occasional treat but remember to be kind to your mouths.