Sugar and Your Children’s Teeth – Advice From Your Wickford Dentist

Extractions on the increase for under fours.

A report out today (1)  notes that the number of extractions carried out on children aged four or younger has increased by a quarter in the past ten years. Last year, there were over nine thousand extractions in this age group, a figure that is much too high and indicates that steps need to be taken to reduce the effect of sugar on a child’s teeth.

Whilst some of this action must be taken at a governmental and national level, there is much that parents can do to keep their children’s teeth strong and healthy, and not let them become a part of this statistic.


Whilst there may be other causes for dental problems, sugar consumption is almost certainly responsible for the greater part of it, and this is an area that parents do have an element of control over, especially for this age group. As children become older, they will have more control over their food choices but getting them into good habits at this young age can help to protect them from problems later on.

Below, is a brief list of things that parents can do to help keep their children’s teeth healthy.

  1. Cut down on their sugar intake – Whilst it may be impossible to cut it out altogether, not giving in to a child’s demands for sweets is certainly a good start. By all means, allow them to have sweets as an occasional treat, but do not let it become a part of their regular diet.
  2. Make sure that your child sees their local Wickford children’s dentist on a regular basis. At the Cygnet Dental Practice, our team have a friendly approach with children which helps to put them at ease.
  3. Avoid too many fruit juices – Although often a natural product (though some also have added sugars), fruit juices, and indeed, fruit, contain natural sugars which are every bit as damaging as refined sugars when it comes to tooth decay. Water or very diluted juices are the best drinks for children and should form the bulk of their liquid intake.
  4. Supervise brushing – Left to their own devices, many children will simply suck the toothbrush or even skip brushing altogether. Parents should always supervise their children’s teeth brushing at this age. An age appropriate toothpaste should be used on a relatively new brush (no more than three months old), and they should be encouraged to brush gently in a circular motion for two minutes, both morning and evening.
  5. See the hygienist – Children can, and do, suffer from gum disease. Monitoring and treating this is an important role of our Wickford dental hygienist. She will also discuss how to have healthy teeth and gums with your child in a friendly manner.

These are the most basic ways to help your child avoid dental problems, but are easy to carry out. We understand that it can be difficult to deny children sugar, but giving in to their demands, often in return for a few minutes of peace and quiet, can have a long term effect on their oral health.

To arrange an appointment to see a children’s dentist at the Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford, please call us today on 01268 733078.

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