By the age of 6 over half
of all Australian children will be suffering from tooth decay. It’s also the most common reason for Australian pre-schoolers to be admitted to hospital.
Quite simply there are two main factors behind this rotten statistic:
- Children are consuming more sugary foods and drinks more often during the day
- Children (and adults) aren’t cleaning their teeth correctly
Studies have shown that over 99% of children brush their teeth with toothpaste. However this is giving them a false belief that they are looking after their teeth. In reality the time they take to brush is too short and the technique they use is wrong.
The bigger problem, however, is what we eat and drink. If you want your child to be amongst the 50% that doesn’t have tooth decay by age six, or if you want to stop any further decay from happening the challenge is to get them to change their diet and eating habits.
Eating habits – the biggest cause of tooth decay
Each time we eat, the sugars in our food and drink are broken down by the bacteria in our mouths to form acid which immediately starts attacking our teeth. Half an hour after eating is when our teeth are at their weakest and most vulnerable.
If we don’t eat anything else then our saliva goes to work to neutralise these acids and protect our teeth during the day until our next meal. But, if we continue to snack throughout the day, particularly on sweet foods and fizzy drinks, we’re constantly topping up the sugars that turn into acid. Our teeth are under constant attack and saliva just can’t cope with that level of acid. Our teeth will start to erode and decay.
The bottom line on eating habits is to eat fewer sugary foods and drinks and don’t snack between meals.