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​Sugar and children's oral health: top tips for patients

As dentists, we often see a lot of tooth decay in young children's teeth, decay which could have been entirely preventable.

It's essential that we get patients thinking about what they and their family are eating and encourage them to make sure their diet is balanced.

For oral health, the key is to avoid sugary snacks and drinks, as this will help protect teeth from decay.



Top tips for good oral health for your patients and their children

Here are our top tips for your patients to help make sure their smiles stay healthy:

  • Reduce sugary snacks: the risk of developing tooth decay increases as the amount and frequency of sugar consumption rises.
  • Brush twice a day: keeping teeth clean by regular brushing helps prevent decay. Children's brushing should be supervised until the age of seven. Ask your dentist for more advice.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste: all children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm, both morning and night. From three to six years old, their toothpaste should contain more than 1000ppm. For children six years and older, the recommended amount is between 1350ppm-1500ppm.
  • Visit the dentist on a regular basis: ask your dentist how often you should visit and keep your appointments, if oral health problems are spotted early, then they can often be dealt with much easier. Your dentist can answer any questions you have about the best way to look after your child's teeth.
  • Watch out for 'hidden' sugars: pure fruit juices can be a healthy choice, but the natural sugars these contain can still damage teeth. If you are offering fruit juice, drink it with a meal and only in a small glass (up to 150ml).

Where can I find out more?

The NHS Change for Life campaign has tips and idea for cutting down on sugary foods and drinks and has resources to help support a switch to healthier eating and drinking choices.

What is the BDA doing?

When it comes to oral health, we believe in #preventionfirst: tooth decay is an avoidable disease and we are campaigning for Government's to take this problem seriously, to act now and invest in real prevention.

About the BDA

The British Dental Association (BDA) is the professional association and trade union for dentists in the UK. It represents dentists working in general practice, in community and hospital settings, in academia and research, and in the armed forces, and includes dental students. The BDA promotes members’ interests, advances the science, arts and ethics of dentistry, and contributes towards improving the nation's oral health.

You can follow news from the BDA on Twitter.

Membership packages reflect the varied needs of dentists.