Fluoride toothpaste and water fluoridisation has had a significant effect on reducing the levels of decay in the UK, explains Bexleyheath dentist Forouzan Pessian from Danson Park Dental Practice in Kent.
But research carried out every ten years in the Child Dental Health Survey showed that in 2013 there were obvious levels of decay in 31% of 5 year olds, 34% of 12 year olds and 46% of 15 year olds.
It is clear from these statistics that our teenagers need extra help and encouragement when it comes to looking after their teeth. But what can parents in Bexleyheath, Welling, Bexley and across Kent do when their children hit that notoriously difficult age?
Learning by example
Instilling good dental health habits in our children from an early age should certainly help make brushing their teeth twice a day seem like second nature. If they have always done this, the idea is that they will carry on, so start while they are still young!
At this stage in their lives, older teenagers start to care more than ever about their appearance. Having discoloured teeth was the biggest reason (33%) given in a recent survey for people feeling self-conscious about their smile.
There’s nothing more attractive than strong, healthy teeth and regular visits to a dentist will help ensure their teeth stay this way. Encouraging visits to a hygienist for a thorough clean and polish to bring back a natural sparkle to their teeth may help your teen feel proud of their smile once again – and they may be more inclined to look after it.
Paying for their own dental care
Cajoling and carefully worded suggestions work as well for toddlers as they do for teenagers. Mentioning that they will have to pay for their own dental care once they turn a certain age might just kick start regular tooth brushing! Explain that the easiest, most effective – and cheapest – way to keep their teeth and gums looking great is to brush for two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
Chewing sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum after eating and drinking is a convenient way of looking after our dental health. It washes away food debris, helps to neutralises damaging plaque acids and re-mineralises tooth enamel by stimulating the flow of saliva which helps protect teeth.