The ‘done’ thing these days is to stop kids from having sweets and chocolates – normally you’d tell them it is because it is bad for their teeth. But have you ever tried to find out if this really helps?

 Chances are no! On the one hand you can have a kid who eats all the chocolates and sweets and has healthy and strong teeth – and then you have your kid. Poor thing isn’t allowed too many treats, and still ends up with tooth decay at the dentists!

Maybe it is time you found out the real causes for tooth decay in children and learnt how you can banish the tooth decay monster. So, let’s not waste any more time…


What causes children‘s tooth decay?

Yes, what they eat can contribute to tooth decay. But more often it isn’t what they eat, but what is left behind because of poor dental hygiene. And while you can curtail the harmful food, you should also always encourage better dental hygiene in children.

 What basically happens is that, when they eat something sugary or rich in carbohydrate, this settles on the teeth. If this isn’t washed away properly, it becomes a very comfy atmosphere for the bacteria to feed and grow on. This bacterium ultimately causes tooth decay. Also when the bacteria find sugar, there’s actually a reaction and the bacteria produce acids which eat away at the tooth.

Tooth decay happens the same way in your teeth as well. And preventing it is only possible if you follow good dental hygiene . And unfortunately, that’s also the only way to teach your children the same good habit!  Remember – children always learn more from examples…

So, on to…

Better Dental Care for your children

Here are a few things that you should practise – and in turn encourage your children to do:

  •  Wash your mouth after eating or drinking ANYTHING – not just sweet stuff.
  • Cut back on foods to avoid (see below)…
  • Go to the dentist regularly – because then problems get spotted before they get out of hand!
  • Brush your teeth after every meal – PROPERLY. And teach them the right procedure to brush as well.
  • Flossing and tongue cleaning should be a matter of habit right after brushing!
  • At the first sign of toothache, or tooth sensitivity – take your kid to the dentist. Because if the decay has happened, the cavity needs to be cleaned up and filled ASAP.

In addition to teaching by example – try to make up fun rituals around these simple everyday practices… Make it fun for the kids – and they’ll do it more willingly. Also you need to impress on them how bad the ‘tooth-germs’ are and how they’ll eat up all his teeth!

And now for…

The foods to avoid

 Okay – avoid doesn’t mean total no-no. But they’re all good in moderation. And always ensure you and your child washes your mouth properly after having any of these. You don’t want even the smallest bits lurking around in your mouth! High carbohydrate or sugar containing food

  • Very sweet fruits or fruit juices
  • Potato chips
  • Peanut butter
  • Carbonated/Aerated/Soft drinks

And now for…

A last word on preventing tooth decay in children

 Remember that what you do your child learns – so practise proper dental hygiene. Also watch when your child is brushing or flossing – so that you know they are doing right! Up to the age of 10, you can safely presume that your child will not be brushing properly – every time you have your back turned, they’ll just rub the brush across their teeth in front twice and then rinse their mouth! So check every time.

Also it is probably a better idea to get them special kids’ toothpaste, along with their kids’ toothbrushes. Adult toothpaste can contain fluoride which will worsen the tooth decay in children.


And always remember – teach them a thing or two about preventing tooth decay today – and they’re more likely to thank you for it forever…

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