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Children's Dental Health

(24 Posts)
WestHampstead Mon 19-Dec-16 11:35:53


I'm new here, but I thought I would start a new topic after seeing an article recently about Children's dental health. Apparently teachers should be teaching children how to brush their teeth rather than parents. Would it not be better for dentists to teach parents on how to teach children? If at dental checkups dentists can take 5 minutes to explain it would be much better.

Alternatively do any parents use iPhone apps or gadgets to help their children? Is a 2 minute sand timer enough to actually get a child to brush their teeth PROPERLY or do they need something more interactive to engage with?

Would love to get some people's thoughts on this!



Heatherjayne1972 Mon 26-Dec-16 15:52:31

Teachers aren't allowed to touch kids and probably don't have the time or expertise anyway
Any parent interested enough to bother with an app is likely to be
taking their kids to the dentist anyway
Do you really believe that us dental people don't spend a significant amount of time educating parents already believe me- we do! We go into schools/playgroups/scout brownies and lots of dental practices have a dedicated children's room
What needs to happen is the government needs to get really tough on sugary foods and drinks- not increase the price but force manufacturers to radically reduce the sugar contents in products
We do need to continue educating all parents (parents from other countries may not know about dental health) so that the message is consistent from the health visitors and midwives to school nurses/teachers /doctors and anyone else parents come into contact with This is unlikely since the government is cutting everything it can
There is a school of thought that says that since tooth decay is totally avoidable should a child have rampant decay the parent/s should be prosecuted for neglect (not sure I agree tho)
I'm a hygienist and the rate of tooth decay in our primary school children is a national scandal in the 21st century

itsbetterthanabox Mon 26-Dec-16 15:56:52

Yes parents should be teaching them but some don't so schools doing it is needed. Also it drums it in even for those that are taught properly. It just emphasises good dental health. Surely that's a bonus.

Heatherjayne1972 Mon 26-Dec-16 16:17:41

Yes it is but teachers dont have time for this
At the primary school my kids go to they've just put a request out for any dentally knowledgeable parents to volunteer

Haggisfish Mon 26-Dec-16 16:20:45

They do dental care and tooth rushing at dds school and ds nursery.

jimijack Mon 26-Dec-16 16:27:45

Teachers! No, dear Lord they have enough on their plates.
What's the point in that if the parents or responsible adults don't do it, not "right" but at all!

Don't think in this society that parents just don't do it right, it's massive, far beyond cleaning teeth properly.
It's severe poverty, cheep sugar laden foods and drinks, it's too simplistic to say that parents should be taught imo.

ImprovingMyMH Mon 26-Dec-16 16:27:53

Heatherjayne, can parents have a hygienist visit for their children? Would they have to pay? And should children use an electric toothbrush?

tireddotcom72 Mon 26-Dec-16 16:37:03

But if you are a teacher and a parent I'm guessing you aren't teaching your own kids properly so should you be teaching other children to clean teeth?

Heatherjayne1972 Mon 26-Dec-16 16:48:23

Children can have a hygienist appointment yes. And yes it probably would be private
Some practices have a dental health educator - probably not NHS places tho
My boys are 7 and 9. They use a manual brush ( well I still do it for them ) but no reason why children can't use an electric brush
The hardest age is the teen years TBH as they have freedom/ money to buy sweets and drinks ( energy drinks and sports drinks are worst). and they don't ever think anything bad will happen to them
Ime it's hard to get a teenager to brush (or do anything else they don't want to)

ChanandlerBongsNeighbour Mon 26-Dec-16 16:53:31

I'm a nursery teacher and at my school we do something called the Brush Bus which is endorsed/provided by the NHS. Basically all the children have a toothbrush in school and we brush our teeth in class together after lunch. It's not so much us 'teaching' them how to brush their teeth but more modelling good brushing I suppose? The kids love it and can't wait to do it every day!

BobbyNoggle Mon 26-Dec-16 17:25:07

Would it not be better for dentists to teach parents on how to teach children? If at dental checkups dentists can take 5 minutes to explain it would be much better*

I'm a children's dentist & can assure everyone that we( myself & colleagues) do spend 5 minutes per assessment teaching both child & parent how to clean teeth properlyconfused
Additionally, there are dental health education units, attached to most community dental depts/Local Councils; who specifically liaise with schools & nurseries to promote dental health-oral hygiene & diet.
OP, a higher percentage of U.K. Children than you could ever imagine, are never actually taken to a dentist unless they are in pain. A lot of social workers / health visitors/ GPs& School nurses have to refer said children with dental problems, to the Children's Specialist Dental Services. This is to ensure these children who are suffering, get the treatment they need; we all work in tandem to make sure these children are brought to their appointments.
By far the best way is for multiple stakeholders to work together to dentally educate children & parents.

ImprovingMyMH Mon 26-Dec-16 18:05:39

I've heard about children brushing their teeth after school at lunch before, but I thought that you shouldn't actually brush your teeth immediately after eating?

BobbyNoggle Mon 26-Dec-16 18:57:35

You're right; you have to leave 60 mins after eating before you brush your teeth. That's why ideal times are on waking(before breakfast) & last thing at night before bed.

Yesitsmeagain Wed 28-Dec-16 08:16:53

I'm having trouble with my DDs new adult teeth. Every day (twice!!) I spend an age vigorously brushing her teeth yet every time I get to her teeth again her new ones have a grey/black film all over them and the others a bit of yellow around the edges.

I'm worried sick!! It's a twice daily battle to get her to stop fidgeting so I can brush properly, and she does have a very small mouth. The big molars at the back I literally can't even get to without hurting her.

Perhaps I should get her an electric toothbrush?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 28-Dec-16 08:36:41

My husband is a dentist. Diet causes about 80% of the problem when it comes to decay.

He spends literally hours trying to give advice to some patients regarding diet and brushing. Then they just totally ignore him and blame"weak enamel". No, "weak enamel" doesn't run in your family, your family has a history of bad duet and poor dental hygiene.

Plus, in an NHS practice, there is literally 5 minutes per appointment. In that time, he has to get the child seated, check their teeth, get his nurse to make his notes contemporaneously whilst giving the usual advice on diet and brushing.

Blame the NHS and their crap contracts for this

MackerelOfFact Wed 28-Dec-16 09:05:24

Gobbolinothewitchscat is absolutely spot on, I could have written your post word for word (my DP in a dentist too and says exactly the same).

A worrying number of people really do seem to think they can do whatever the fuck the want with their teeth and their dentist will magically fix it for free with no pain/expense/inconvenience/aesthetic compromise. Except it doesn't really work like that!

Heatherjayne1972 Wed 28-Dec-16 09:26:53

I'm a hygienist and agree with the two points made above.
Personal responsibility seems to be a thing of the past

fakenamefornow Wed 28-Dec-16 09:47:19

I think the parents should take more responsibility and make sure their children brush their teeth, unfortunately many just don't do it so yes, I think they should be taught in nursery and school. Teachers have enough on their plate though, maybe school nurse could do it or health visitor.

I have terrible teeth, I remember six of my baby teeth being removed at the dentist because they were rotting. Then before I was twelve, every single one of my adult teeth at the back had been filled because they were so decayed, I remember tooth ache being agony as well. Nobody in my family ever brushed their teeth and I had sweets every day. Lack of education is no excuse, everybody knows what causes tooth decay, and what prevents it. Teeth just weren't valued though and it's much harder to change value systems. I think that preventable tooth decay in children (I know some children have health problems that cause decay, that's why I said preventable) should trigger a social services report. Some parents need to be forced to look after their children's teeth and I don't see how it can be anything other than neglect not to. Lack of money is no excuse either, health visitors give out toothbrushes and you can buy a cheap toothbrush and toothpaste for under a pound.

fakenamefornow Wed 28-Dec-16 09:51:45

Then they just totally ignore him and blame"weak enamel". No, "weak enamel" doesn't run in your family, your family has a history of bad duet and poor dental hygiene.

My little boy has weak enamel (the girls don't), I am very careful that his teeth are looked after. He's ten, and has never had a filling, weak enamel is (usually) no excuse.

Millie2013 Wed 28-Dec-16 20:02:19

Dentists/nurses/hygienists, diet wise, what is the main cause of decay in your experience? DD doesn't have a sweet tooth, but has chocolate/biscuit treats (not every day). She does have fruit, but mostly after meals and she only drinks water or milk. I'm a bit paranoid because I have had problems (tetracycline and diet related) and had a lot of painful treatments during my childhood

I brush her teeth morning and night and in addition, they brush their own teeth in nursery. She's only three, how long do I need to keep brushing for her, I'm guessing a few years yet? Her dentist is happy with her, but the appointments are so short and I'd rather she gets a thorough examination in the time allowed
Thanks, in advance smile

BobbyNoggle Wed 28-Dec-16 21:01:20

Millie- prevention of dental decay is a delicate balance right 1) strategic eating at certain points of the day & 2) effective oral hygiene with appropriate fluoride toothpaste.
The DOH dental prevention toolkit advises that children need adult help for toothbrushing until age 7.
As a mum & children's dentist though, I am firmly of the opinion that 7 is far too young for solo toothbrushing. In my experience, children need adult help for brushing until approx age 10. They just do not have the manual dexterity necessary to do a satisfactory job until around age 10.
2 mins per day with 'full strength adult toothpaste' as near to 1500 ppmF paste -after the age of 3. Look at the back of toothpaste box to check Fluoride concentration.
After brushing spit don't rinse, the latter washes away all the fluoride.
Do toothbrushing twice daily-first thing in morning before eating/ drinking breakfast and last thing at night before bed. Never brush teeth unless 60 mins have elapsed after eating& drinking.
Strategic eating to prevent dental caries -basically eat 3 meals daily -breakfast/lunch/dinner and crucially confine all sugar intake to these 3 mealtimes only.
So fresh fruit/chocolate/ice cream/cake/biscuits/yoghurts/dried fruit-raisins/sweets/cordial/juice etc etc have to eaten immediately after your main course as the pudding. (Or with the meal in the case of juice).
Your teeth can recover from 3 acid attacks per day -breakfast/lunch/dinner but anymore causes dental caries.
Stick to water only for drinks between mealtimes.
If your child is desperate for a snack between meals then cheese/crackers/toast/bread /butter are much more sensible options.
But really try hard not to snack between meals-grazing is terrible for teeth!!
Do this the majority of the time & don't worry about one-offs for eg a party.
There are hidden sugars in baked beans, ketchup etc and people don't realise just how much sugar is in yoghurt and raisins. But confining these to 1of the 3 main meals is absolutely fine.

Sorry for essay but you did ask !

Yesitsmeagain Wed 28-Dec-16 23:15:02

Bobby thank you, that's really helpful.

I've never been that worried about my kids teeth because I was confident they didn't eat much junk and I made sure brushing was done properly.

But my DDs new adult teeth have me really panicking. At the end of every day they are covered in a green/grey film. Which comes off eventually but only after some v vigorous brushing. And they seem to be almost transluscent. And then the new back molars are literally impossible to get to the back of. sad

Also, despite trying every brand of adult toothpaste going, they make a huge fuss about the taste. Does it matter if they stay on the Aquafresh 'Milk Teeth' stuff as it's got 1450ppm fluoride?

Laura358 Thu 29-Dec-16 11:11:26

Parents has the major responsibility towards their children regarding the dental health. It is important to get the kids excited about their trips to the dentists. It only requires a little extra effort on your part and the benefits will be non lasting. I recently read an interesting blog on dental treatment for kids and how to make them more excited after the dental visits. Read this- . Hope it might be helpful.

BobbyNoggle Thu 29-Dec-16 17:30:40

As long as your toothpaste contains 1400/1450/1500ppmF that's fine!

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