Reducing tooth decay - Better Lives Healthy Futures

Reducing tooth decay

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Sugary food and drinks can cause tooth decay and pain, impacting on your child's health and wellbeing

Each time we eat sugary food and drink, the bacteria in dental plaque produce acid that attacks teeth. If we eat or drink sugary foods frequently throughout the day we have more ‘acid attacks’, which can lead to tooth decay.

Top tips to reduce the risk of tooth decay

Children get a lot of sugar from fizzy drinks, juice drinks, buns, cakes, pastries, biscuits, breakfast cereals, yoghurts, sweets, chocolates and ice cream – reducing these will help reduce the risk of tooth decay. Follow these top tips:

Eat a healthy diet, replacing sugary snacks with fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, cheese and crackers, pitta bread and humous, bread or toast. Only give sweet foods (including dried fruit) at mealtimes.

Encourage your child to drink water or milk.

Reduce cola, juice drinks, milkshakes or fizzy drinks – give your child water, lower-fat milks, sugar free or no added sugar drinks instead. Only give soft drinks at mealtimes and limit the amount of fruit juice and/or smoothies your child drinks to a maximum of 150 mls (one portion) per day.

Always ask for sugar-free medicines.

Ensure your child brushes their teeth regularly.

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Further information

Dietary advice to prevent tooth decay

This video has helpful tips from a dentist on preventing tooth decay in children.

Growing up with healthy teeth

This video looks at what we can do to help our children grow up with healthy teeth.

The facts about sugar

Children are consuming more than twice the amount of sugar they need. Get the facts and learn how to be sugar smart on the NHS Change4Life website.

Oral health for 5-12 year olds

Lots of useful information for parents and carers about child oral health and nutrition on the Child Smile website.

Related topics

Healthy eating

Healthy eating is important for healthy growth and development.
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Brushing teeth

Regular brushing will help your child to avoid tooth decay
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Visiting the dentist

NHS dental treatment for children is free for children under 18
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Oral Health service – Bradford

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust's Oral Health team offers a range of programmes including fluoride varnish applications and a toothbrushing programme delivered in primary and special schools.
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