With the current restrictions on dental care, it is even more important to look after teeth and gums to avoid the need for emergency treatment. Although most of us usually get through the day with 3 meals and perhaps an afternoon snack, with the change in routine we are all adjusting to and spending far more time at home, an increase in snacking can become problematic – especially if you have children at home who seem to be constantly asking for a snack or treat. As well as maintaining a balanced diet for the overall health and well-being of you and your children, the health of your teeth and gums is also affected by what you eat, when you eat it and how often.
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting a ban on all sugary foods and snacks – our tips are to help you and your children to understand why it’s important to make good choices.
Preventive dental care at home for the family
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to help protect teeth and gums from attack between brushes.
- We recommend supervised brushing for children up to 4 - 5 years old to make sure teeth and gums are looked after.
- When you’ve finished brushing, spit – don’t rinse. If you rinse your mouth with water, you’re removing some of the protection the toothpaste leaves behind.
- Always brush after breakfast and at bedtime to make sure your teeth and gums have as much protection as possible overnight. If possible, try to brush your teeth after lunch too.
Healthy daytime habits
With a good oral hygiene routine in place for you and your children, it’s time to turn to the daytime and making sure teeth aren’t under constant snack-attack.
When we eat, the enamel on our teeth becomes vulnerable to acid attack. When enamel is broken down by the acid attack, this can cause a cavity – a hole in the tooth, which will require dental treatment.
The types of food and drinks we consume and how often, makes a big difference to our teeth. Making some small changes can make a real difference and reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease:
- Reduce fizzy drinks and sugary foods in your overall daily diet
- Swap sugary snacks for teeth-friendly choices like cheese, bread sticks and veggie sticks. Savoury foods are generally a better choice as they tend to be lower in sugar.
- Minimise the number of times you eat between meals so that your teeth and gums aren’t under contact acid attack.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day and keep sugary and fizzy drinks to a minimum - ideally only at mealtimes.
- Milk is a good alternative option for a child’s drink. If they are partial to fruit juice, try diluting it with water to reduce the amount of sugar – or try sugar-free fruit drinks.
While we are unable to provide face-to-face dental care at the moment, we are continuing to provide telephone support for all our patients and, where indicated, providing prescriptions to treat infections and pain. If you require urgent dental support, please call 01428 723179.