Kids Diet & Brushing Tips

The main cause of tooth decay is eating sugary or acidic food or drinks too often

Other factors that influence a child developing tooth decay include:

  • Poor oral hygiene – not brushing twice daily or flossing regularly
  • Poor saliva flow – often from not drinking enough water
  • Medications and medical conditions
  • Extended bottle use – with milk or other drink
  • Enamel defects
  • Bacteria responsible for decay can be contagious so children benefit from parents who have regular dental visits

Please discuss the guidelines below in more detail when you visit us –

Diet summary: 
Every time we eat any type of sugar, an acid attack occurs on the teeth as the sugar combines with the bacterial plaque. The more frequently we eat between meals the greater the risk of decay as the acidity remains high in the mouth instead of returning to a safe level.
To help prevent cavities we recommend that your child:
  • Drink tap water as the best option, followed by milk  
  • Avoid all acidic drink and food including: sports or energy drinks, black cola, lemon & acidic additives 
  • Limit sugary or sticky snacks including: muesli bars, biscuits, honey, dried fruit, juice & soft drinks
  • Eat healthy snacks like fruit / vegetables, lean meats & dairy products 
  • Choose wholegrain products rather than refined ones Eg. wholemeal  
  • Avoid ‘grazing’ on frequent snacks
  • Have regular checkups with the dentist every 6 months
  • Phase out bottle-feeding by around the age of 12months  
  • Follow the good toothbrushing guide below  
Tooth brushing:
  • Start early – wipe your baby’s gums with a wash cloth during bath
  • When teeth start to erupt introduce a soft, small baby toothbrush
  • Around 18months old, brush teeth twice daily, after breakfast & before bed
  • Use a small/soft toothbrush suitable for your child’s age 
  • Use a small pea size of toothpaste suitable for age and keep stored out of reach of young children
  • Encourage your child to spit and rinse well after toothpaste to prevent swallowing 
  • Children younger than 6 years need help from their carers to brush their teeth and until age 10 years children still need supervision
  • Flossing to clean between teeth should begin once two teeth are touching
  • When brushing use a small circular action in a young child – later when they come to visit us, we will teach them how to use their tooth brush at a 45o angle with the same circular action
  • Your child will learn by watching and imitating you – so enjoy brushing your teeth together 
  • It’s important not to share tooth brushes to prevent cross contamination of bacteria
  • To check how effective toothbrushing is, occasionally use a plaque-disclosing tablet to see if any pink plaque is visible after brushing (follow instructions on packet)

Read more about kids teeth in FAQ or For Parents