When over 2,000 adults took part in a survey about tooth care in their families it was revealed that one in five parents don’t have the time to oversee children cleaning their teeth. Two minutes is the recommended time that we brush but it’s no surprise the children aren’t being observed when the survey also flagged up that more than two thirds of the adults brushed for less than the recommended time themselves! Apparently only 15% of them were informed of the long term health issues associated with poor dental care such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes. I had no idea either!
I always assumed that bad teeth led to fillings but not much else so was very surprised to learn of these much more serious consequences. I considered us to have a fairly good dental routine in our house, I sing a song about bumblebees and ladybirds when we brush and we always make sure we do so twice a day. I find it quite surprising when I hear of a friend’s child maybe needing a filling and when I helped out in Florence’s class and saw a little boy with actual brown teeth, the look of them made me physically gag with revulsion. I had no idea that our own brushing techniques are leaving our own teeth so vulnerable as my song definitely doesn’t last two minutes and the thought of my babies themselves having to have a filling makes me know I have to remedy it!
The children have always had very positive experiences at the dentist and been told their teeth are perfect. Jimmy was especially praised at the age of 2 as our dentist said she rarely sees such a young child with SUCH clean teeth as they are so opposed to having them brushed. I thought we were doing a great job but now I know that two minutes is recommended I think we’ve just been rather lucky. I don’t want to continue winging it and want to make sure it stays this way!
Careway, a new partnership programme for independent pharmacies, have set me to a two week tooth challenge to see just how well I have been looking after my teeth and teach me how to look after them better. The challenge is for the whole family to brush twice a day without fail using a fluride-based toothpaste. They sent us some plaque reveling tablets to use prior to the challenge and although the children are too young to use them, Jonny and I gave it a go. Our teeth didn’t come out TOO bad but there is still plaque showing around the edges… It was not a lovely reveal for me I have to say as this sort of thing definitely gives me the heebie jeebies! I now know over the next two weeks I have to make sure I get my teeth even cleaner and while we’re doing the challenge the children will too!
Over the next two weeks we will be taking the advise of Careway and brushing using a fluride toothpaste for two minutes twice a day. They also have some other handy hints we will be taking note of:
Drinking cold water after sugary food, using a straw for drinks so that it goes to the back of the mouth rather than around the teeth, choosing sugar free treats, limiting food intake to three meals a day with only a couple of snacks, flossing or using interdental sticks to reach in-between teeth to rid them of plaque build up, using a pea sized amount of toothpaste for children under 7, waiting at least an hour after eating before brushing to ensure healthy enamel and remembering we need to change our tooth brushes every three months.
I’m doing the challenge because I want to make sure that the results from the adults in our household ensure the children go on to have healthier teeth than us. I have a couple of fillings and I would like to think that my children could grow up without having any if we look after their teeth properly. In two week’s time I shall use a plaque revealing tablet once again and hopefully will have less red marks because they will have been brushed as per the advice from Careway.
www.careway.co.uk is a health hub for people wishing to locate their nearest pharmacy and features specialist healthcare advice and interactive tools to help people keep track of their health. Follow them on Twitter @CarewayUK.
In association with Careway.