When your kids are at home, it's not too difficult to control what they eat and drink and make sure they take care of their teeth. But what about when they're not under your supervision?
Fortunately, there are still ways that caring parents can continue to look after their children's oral health even when they're at school. Talk to your dentist about teeth-friendly diets, sports mouthguards and preventive treatments to find out more.
Good oral hygiene includes being careful about what you and your children eat and drink every day, especially where sugar is concerned.
Sugar is the leading cause of tooth decay, which affects almost half of Australian children by the age of 9-10 and a third of children by as early as 5-6, according to the latest National Child Oral Health Study. Most of this sugar is consumed in soft drinks, fruit juices and cordials, as well as sugary snacks.
If you're worried that your child might choose unhealthy food and drink options at school, send them prepared with a teeth-friendly lunchbox. This should include a balanced meal and healthy snacks with water or milk rather than sugary and acidic drinks.
Instead of sweet and salty snacks that can promote tooth decay, include fresh fruit such as crunchy apples or nuts. As well as being tasty, these could even help to remove plaque from their teeth. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are high in calcium and can help to strengthen teeth enamel.
Sport and fitness is an important part of the Australian curriculum, but some activities can put children's teeth at risk of injury if they don't have suitable protection. Sports mouthguards create a barrier that can protect your child's teeth against impacts from balls, equipment and other players.
Custom-fitted mouthguards provided by a dentist offer greater protection than mouthguards bought from a store. They're also usually more comfortable to wear and won't restrict their performance. Custom mouthguards are recommended by organisations such as the Australian Dental Association and Sports Medicine Australia when playing contact sports such as rugby, but they can also be worn for other sports and activities to help protect your child's teeth.
If your child needs a mouthguard, their dentist can take impressions (moulds) of their teeth and send these off to a dental laboratory where the mouthguard is made. Your child may be able to choose the colour of their mouthguard, which needs to be properly looked after to make sure it retains its shape.
Regular check-ups with your dentist are also part of a good oral hygiene routine. During these visits, your child's dentist will check the condition of their teeth and gums and may recommend treatments to correct a problem or prevent problems from happening in the future.
If your child still has their baby teeth, their dentist may recommend applying fissure sealants to seal small gaps in their molars (chewing teeth). This can lower the risk of tooth decay and cavities. A dentist or orthodontist may also perform an orthodontic assessment to check whether your child could benefit from braces or another treatment to help straighten their teeth or align their bite, now or in the future.
During their dental visit, your child will also be educated in the correct way to brush and floss their teeth and advised on foods and drinks to avoid to help them maintain a healthy smile for life.
For more information about mouthguards, fissure sealants and other children's dental treatments we offer at Face Value Dental, call us today on (07 3221 0677 or make an appointment online.
 The University of Adelaide. Oral health of Australian children: The National Chid Oral Health Study 2012-14 [Online] 2016 [Accessed June 2018] Available from: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/ncohs/ncohs-ebook.pdf
 Dental Health Services Victoria. Food and drink for healthy teeth [Online] 2009 [Accessed June 2018] Available from: https://www.dhsv.org.au/dental-advice/teeth-tips-and-facts/food-and-drink
 Australian Dental Association. "No Mouthguard, No Play," says Australia's dentists and sports medicine specialists [Online] 2015 [Accessed June 2018] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/News-Media/News-and-Release/Media-Releases/No-Mouthguard,-no-play,-says-Australia-s-dentist
 Better Health Channel. Dental sealants [Online] 2018 [Accessed June 2018] Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/dental-sealants