Thursday, 5 March 2015

Healthy Teeth

On the Channel Four's recent program, ‘Junk Food Kids: Whose to Blame? ‘ -   
they showed four year old overweight children with rotten teeth, having to get full mouth teeth extractions due to decay and ulcers. It’s totally shocking as all this is easily preventable. 

On the program one young mother complained it is always easier to say 'yes' to her young children's demands! - oh dear!. She wants an easy life. she explains.  
Ignorance is not bliss and is no excuse. I feel so sorry for these young mums – why is no one offering them advice??! Yes it is possible to have no fillings by simply looking after your teeth  and by brushing and avoiding sugary drinks and foods. I only allowed my children occasional chocolate or ice cream – but NEVER sweets that drips sugar for hours – such as lollipops, toffees, carbonated sugar drinks etc. 

 Why are we not allowed to have fluoride in our water as they do in other countries?

My son works as a paediatric dentist – the consultant on the program says that pulling the teeth is like putting windows into a burning house fire.

It is easier and right to say NO sometimes! It is so much easier to say no and to have children with healthy teeth - how it is easier to watch your children have all their teeth pulled out?

Children reach an age (about two) when they test to find out what the boundaries are - and if a parent doesn't set any boundaries they can get highly confused.

I had a light bulb moment when I lived north of Chicago. I was talking with a neighbour, another young mum the same age as me then, mid-thirties, and she mentioned she had no fillings! I was astonished and I asked her how this was possible? She said she flossed and brushed her teeth regularly growing up. She said it was too expensive not to, as dental treatment is not free there. Oddly in America decayed tooth repairs are called cavities, while here in the UK they are called fillings! 

The government could do much more and stop being in thrall to the sugar lobby. The amounts of sugar and salt added to our food should be reduced, as it is in other countries. We have managed to ban cigarette smoking in public places - its time now to reduce sugar intake.   
The advertising of unhealthy food options to children should be banned on tv and on the front of sugar-filled breakfast cereals. 

Our eating junk food is one of the major costs to the NHS - and causes obesity, diabetes, teeth decay, heart disease and more.

Our NHS health treatment here is not free either - someone pays for all the nurses and doctors, hospitals and equipment!  If we waste health service on unnecessary treatments we then take money away from vital, life-saving services.)  

**Its time for more PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE – as being the cheaper approach! – through local pedatric centres for babies and young infants, for monthly health checks, where mothers get advice from nurses on healthy food. I had such a wonderful centre when my daughter was born, north of Chicago near Lake Forrest and it was invaluable. I don’t see GPs as the answer as many of them have NO pediatric training!  I want to see more specialist health centres.

Why is nothing improving? Many young mothers also smoke which harms their babies.
Children learn by example. Baby teeth are softer and more susceptible to decay. The good news is decay it totally preventable with only a few simple measures. 

- Brush teeth twice a day. Also floss.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Get advice on correct brushing techniques. Once children have their back molars they can be sealed to prevent decay.
- Read a children's book on healthy teeth with your children and talk about animals teeth.    

- Avoid sugary drinks - such as high sugary fruit juices and carbonated fizzy drinks, which mean that unhealthy sugars stay in the mouth for hours.
- Avoid sucking sugar-filled lollipops, toffees and other chewy sugars that drip sugar on the baby teeth for hours at a time.   

Instead offer children healthier snack options - such as snack cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts, peanut butter, honey.

Instead of lollipops, I occasionally allowed my children ice-cream or chocolate treats, which stay in the mouth only a short time by contrast. 
**ALSO We have an untapped army of retired professionals (former nurses, teachers and others) who might be used to volunteer their time to offer advice to young mothers on such things as breastfeeding, healthy diets, parenting, DIY and much more.