Today's Date -- 1 March 2001


When those first teeth appear they are at risk from dental decay.

Plaque is the creamy substance that adheres to our teeth and which is colonised by bacteria that breakdown the sugars we eat into acid. This weakens the tooth for upto 5 hours while the tooth attempts to remineralise itself. If ,within this 5 hour period, further sugars are consumed then what chance does the tooth stand.

Hence it is advisable to restrict the intake of food and drinks containing sugars to mealtimes, and avoid allowing your child to have sweet snacks in between. Even plain biscuits contain sugars, and beware the constituents of apparent fruit drinks! Fizzy drinks are acidic and even low-sugar varieties cause enamel erosion if drunk to excess.

Avoid the temptation to dip your baby’s dummy into syrups or fruit juices, or to give sugary drinks just before bedtime. Exposure to these will encourage decay, especially if given at bedtime since, when we are asleep, our salivary flow reduces allowing the bacteria greater opportunity to attack the teeth because they are not being neutralised or washed away by the saliva.

When bottle feeding, try using water or milk, or if you do give your baby juice (even with reduced sugar content) then dilute with upto 10 parts water to 1 part juice, and only offer with meals.

Once teething begins, cleaning your baby’s teeth becomes an important part of the daily routine. Special toothpastes with lower flouride levels and weaker flavours are available for younger children and babies. If your baby does not like the toothbrush, however soft, try using a tiny amount of toothpaste on a flannel that they may chew on instead.

Don’t forget that pregnant and nursing mums are eligible for free NHS treatment and should be encouraged to attend their dentist as this is an important time to maintain their own oral health. Hopefully any parental fear of the dentist will not be passed onto your children.

Recently I saw a 6 month old baby to check her teething and she happily sat in the chair on her own – see for yourself on the practice website:

Article written by Nicola Merson BDS. LDS. RCS.

High Street Dental Practice, Pangbourne,

Telephone : 0118 9843636

For More Information Contact:

High Street Dental Practice
5A High Street, Pangbourne. RG8 7AE
Tel: 44 (0)118 984 3636
FAX: 44 (0)118 984 4749


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Last modified: December 14, 2001