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Kids Teeth and Toothcare

Revolutionary tips for caring for kids teeth. There is much more we can do than simply brushing!

Are your kids part of the Silent Epidemic?

Did you know that over 40% of children under 5 in the USA suffer from tooth decay?

Here in South Africa, the statistics are believed to be even higher.

This article will show you that there is MUCH MORE we can do for our kids teeth than just regular brushing!

Its going to be hard to explain it all here, so I will also refer you to my source - a website created by a paediatric dentist, Dr Angela Gilhespie, with whom I am acquainted.

Unlike many dentists, she is not just out to make a buck (by putting fillings in children's teeth) but she is passionate about PREVENTATIVE DENTAL HYGIENE!

It is such a pleasure to find a professional person like this who has a heart for educating parents so that we can do a better job of caring for our kids' teeth and teach them good habits for life!

toothcare puzzleFirst, please read this page called The Preventative Puzzle

On the next page, which is about bottles, you will discover why giving our children fruit juice, even diluted juice, is like giving them an acid mouth wash! Bottle Decay

The answer is to give our children fruit to eat, where they have to chew it in their mouths and produce saliva, which is our body's own defence mechanism for acid attacks on teeth! Then, to drink, give them water, which does not leave an acid residue in the mouth.'

Don't let your children get addicted to a juice-filled sippy cup whereby they constantly flush their teeth with acidic liquids!

Now, its probably impossible for most of us, to live without sweet treats. The time to give your children anything sweet - candy, biscuits, cake etc is, as a treat, right after a meal when the salivary glands have already been stimulated. Chocolate is less harmful to teeth than other types of candy. If given right after a meal, saliva will reduce the effects of dietary acid in the mouth.

Next, your children (over 3 years of age) should chew gum containing xylitol 3-5 times a day. (There is a risk of choking for children under 3.) At first I cringed when I heard this - the name xylitol sounds like some harmful artificial substance that we should avoid in our diets - NOT SO - it is completely natural, our bodies even make it. Read about the huge difference it can make to dental health: Xylitol

(For those interested in more research into the use of Xylitol, go to www.xylitol.org)

ABC's of Children's Teeth

If you really want to be pro-active and make a difference in to your kids teeth, invest in Dr Gilhespie's book, The ABC's of Children's Teeth.

It could save you some huge dental bills in the future!

To sum up the above:

  • 40% of children under 5 in the USA suffer from tooth decay.
  • Bottles of juice = acid mouthwash
  • Saliva = the body's natural defence for acid attacks on teeth
  • Drinking water is good for teeth
  • Sweet treats are best given after a meal
  • Xylitol and chewing xylitol-containing gum helps prevent cavities

How to brush your kids teeth EFFECTIVELY


Dr. Gilhespie has recently launced an all natural tooth-cleaning product for babies and kids teeth: Xgel.

Xgel will reduce the build-up of harmful biofilm and provides the minimum quantity of Xylitol needed for dental benefits as well as calcium and phosphate to promote healthy teeth and gums.

Unlike toothpaste Xgel is safe to swallow.

It contains no harmful fluoride, detergents, grit, colourants or preservatives, so you don't need to rinse it out. It tastes good (sweet) and you can leave it in!

A systematic review ( Cochrane Library ) of children's toothpaste was published at the end of 2010. The main results were that it was not recommeded to give a fluoride-containing toothpaste to children under one year, as there is a risk of fluorosis to permanent teeth, and up to six years, only on the advice of a dentist.

Until about 6 years of age, a child does not have a well-developed swallowing reflex and therefore swallows most of the paste. This is a grave concern, not only because of the fluoride, but also because these toothpastes contain a myriad of harmful chemicals (preservatives, detergents, colourants, flavourantsetc.)

Do not wet the toothbrush with water before brushing as Xgel (or toothpaste) is more effective without water added.
(In the old days when tooth brushes were made of hogs' hair, it was necessary to soften the bristles with water beforehand, but this is no longer required with our modern synthetic brushes.)

Sit down on a bed and lay your child along your legs with her head in your lap, looking up at you. In this position you can first inspect her teeth, if necessary, and then floss them.

dental tapeKids teeth (and adults' too) should be flossed daily using dental tape, which is like fine ribbon. Dental tape should be among the toothcare products at your local supermarket or pharmacy. Dr Gilhespie ascertains that tape is superior floss! Floss tends to split into shreds sometimes.

Flossing is important, not only to remove remnants of food, but to disturb the harmful bacteria that breed in the mouth and prevent their 24 hourly multiplication process! Establish a habit of flossing once a day at a young age, even if your children have large spaces between their teeth!

Now, with your child still in your lap, brush her teeth for a minute or two if she will allow it that long.

If your toddler is like mine and insists on brushing her teeth herself too, then make sure you insist that you both get a turn to do so! This may take some discipline and perseverance!

[Recently, I have started singing the preschool song, The Wheels on the Bus, as she brushes so that she will brush "up and down" like the windows on the bus, "open and close" (left-right brushing motion) like the doors on the bus, and "round and round" like the wheels on the bus!]

For more information on PREVENTATIVE tooth care, visit www.teethforlife.co.za or invest in Dr Gilhespie's book, The ABC's of Children's Teeth.

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