Blog series: Looking after your family’s smiles

Posted 03 May 2016

James Russell

Making Sense of Sugar is delighted to welcome dentist Dr James Russell to our team of experts. James has been a qualified dentist for 15 years and is well known for his work with Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies. As a father himself and working in his dental clinic, James knows the challenges which many parents face when it comes to looking after their families’ dental health. James is working with us to provide tips and advice to help parents feel more confident when it comes to dental health.

Finding simple and effective information about how to best to care for our own oral health and that of our children can be tricky. Over the coming weeks, I will be helping to guide you through the everyday challenges parents and families face when it comes to looking after our smiles.

As a dentist, I hear and see daily examples of the challenges that almost all patients face when trying to do the best for their own oral health or that of their children.  I really want to help make having healthy teeth and gums as simple as possible.

Good dental health depends on three things: your diet, how many times a day you eat or drink and how you care for your teeth at home. In this first blog I will explain how three simple habits can help to prevent tooth decay.

1. What you eat and drink

A good diet for dental health isn’t just about avoiding particular foods and drinks, but minimising the impact on your teeth by thinking about when and how often you eat and drink, and when you clean your teeth. Ultimately, any food or drink that contains ‘fermentable carbohydrates’ including starches and sugars can be broken down by the bacteria in your mouth to produce acid.

2. When you eat

It is best to eat the majority of food at meal times rather than snacking through the day, as this restricts the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the acid produced by the bacteria. Repeated, frequent attacks from this acid through snacking can dissolve away some of the enamel surface of your teeth leading to decay.

3. Home care

Good oral hygiene at home plays a huge role in preventing dental problems so it’s really important to get children into good dental habits from an early age – from brushing teeth twice a day to visiting the dentist every six months (or when advised) when the child is over two years old. Even before then, you should take your child with you to the dentist whenever possible so they can get used to the environment.

Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes is something we can all do for ourselves and for our children. Brushing removes the plaque and bacteria from the teeth so there are fewer bacteria to produce the decay causing acids. It also helps to protect gums from inflammation.  Ideally brush in the morning and before we go to bed. After the night time brushing there should be no food or drink.

Hopefully this has helped to explain how a few simple habits can help improve your dental health and that of your children. Follow our series and stay tuned for top tips on dental health for life as well as our dental dos and don’ts.