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Help parents take the right approach to children’s oral health

Dental practices could have an important part to play in helping parents take the right approach to their children’s oral health, after research warned of a lack of understanding about this subject.

A survey by Mydentist found that a quarter of adults don’t think it matters if infants develop cavities in their baby teeth.

The study of 1,000 parents with children under the age of 13 also revealed that nearly a third of respondents admitted to waiting until their kids had all of their milk teeth before taking them to the dentist for the first time.

Other findings indicated that more than half of parents in the UK stop helping their children brush their teeth too early, while approximately two-thirds have no idea what type of toothbrush youngsters should be using.

Nyree Whitely, group clinical director for Mydentist, said there is a “common misconception that baby teeth do not matter”.

“The truth is that they are essential for speech, the structure of the face and holding space for the adult teeth to erupt into,” she continued.

“If there is decay, it can lead to infection, discomfort and potentially damage the permanent teeth below. It is essential that parents regularly take their children to the dentist as soon as their baby has their first tooth or turns one – whichever is sooner.”

Dental practices can help raise awareness in this area by displaying posters providing information about children and family services.

Posters could also help you to inform parents about the best ways to protect their children’s oral health.

Mydentist offered the following tips:

  • Take children to the dentist as soon as their first tooth comes through.
  • Water or cold milk should be the only drinks given before bed.
  • Encourage children to spit out excess toothpaste after brushing, but not to rinse or gargle.
  • Use a soft, small-headed toothbrush.
  • Use a timer to ensure two minutes of brushing.
  • Brush twice a day.
  • Check toothpaste for maximum levels of fluoride.

Image: BowdenImages/iStock

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