Looking after teeth
Tooth decay Children in Northern Ireland have the highest levels of tooth decay in Europe. Tooth decay is completely preventable by:
- brushing teeth twice a day using a suitable toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste;
- reducing the amount and frequency of sugary foods and drinks taken;
- avoiding sugary foods between meals;
- avoiding sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, colas, lemonade and squashes, especially between meals;
- taking pure fruit juices and smoothies at meal times only, as they are also high in sugar;
- diluting fruit juices, smoothies and sugary squashes to 1 part juice and 10 parts water, and limiting them to meal times;
- offering all drinks from a free-flowing cup, a beaker or through a straw, so they are less damaging to teeth.
Tooth erosion is an increasing problem in which the surface enamel of a tooth is worn away. Erosion can't be repaired; however, it can be prevented by avoiding fizzy, sugary and diet drinks especially between meals.
Fruit juices and smoothies are good sources of vitamins and can count towards the 5- a- day target, but they can also cause erosion as they are acidic. They are therefore best kept to meal times and diluted 1 part fruit juice/smoothie to 10 parts water.