A fun afternoon on oral care with Colgate

Let’s talk about oral care today, for both children and adults.
:: Be warned. It’s a long post.

imageIsn’t it wonderful when we have a healthy set of teeth to flash when our pictures are taken? Not only that, having strong, healthy teeth can help us chew the right foods so that we can grow. They also help us speak clearly and look our best. So, it’s important that we take care of our teeth.

It’s not always easy, at least in my case. I do not have a healthy set of teeth like my husband. I have to battle cavities and to have root canal done for one of my teeth. I must admit that I am not diligent in taking care of my teeth when I was younger and now I must make sure that my daughter does not suffer the same fate as me. So education on the importance of good oral care habits must start young.

Our family was invited by Colgate Singapore to a parent forum in which we were informed by a dentist, Dr JJ, on the dangers of dental cavities and the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. Not only that, we had the opportunity to participate in a fun, hands-on baking workshop where Faith and I whipped up yummy healthy dishes under the guidance of a professional chef.

When do baby teeth appear?

The first teeth to appear at around six months of age are usually the two lower central incisors – or ‘cutting teeth’. These are followed by the two upper central incisors. By the 16th month, four more incisors would have appeared. Between 13 to 19 months, four canines (pointed teeth) would appear. The molars would have all appeared by the time the child reaches 33 months old.

The order of the appearance is an average only. Babies do vary and it is important to note that teeth appear when they are ready.

Dr JJ reminded us that baby teeth are the foundations of developing permanent teeth and they must be well taken care of. Early loss of baby teeth, for example, can result in space problem for permanent teeth.

What causes tooth decay

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It is important that we take care of our teeth because it helps prevent plaque which is a clear film of bacteria that sticks to our teeth. After we eat, bacteria in our mouth react with the food we eat and sugar acids develop. These sugar acids cause the tooth enamel to weaken, causing holes called cavities.

What we can do

The following are some pointers that Dr JJ mentioned and I thought it’s good to note:

:: Babies who latch on or have a bottle of milk before they sleep tend to have their teeth decay earlier. It is very important that they brush their teeth before they fall asleep!

:: It’s not advisable that the child takes a long time to complete his meal. Dr JJ mentioned that she knew of children who took an hour to do so and by that time, food that is consumed has turned into sugar acids in the mouth.

:: Formula milk contains a lot of sugar. Before you choose one for your child, it is best to read the label and look out for these added sugar which might harm the teeth if they are not well taken care of.

:: Water and milk are the best drinks for your toddler between meals. Try not to give your toddler acidic, sugary or fizzy drinks between meals, or juice or squash in a bottle.

:: Of course, much depends on what one eats. There is a consistent message to keep sweets and other sugary snacks between meals to a minimum. This includes dried fruits such as raisins which are high in sugar and can stick to teeth, as well as chocolate and cakes. Dr JJ maintained that the point is not to refrain from eating them but to practise oral care after consuming them. She shared that her own children are given sugary snacks too but she makes sure that they clean their teeth well. In any case, apart from water, everything else {including good old vegetables and fruits) that we consume has sugar in it.

:: Have regular dental visits. It is recommended that the children start visiting the dentist when they are young before problems arise.

The fun part: Making your own mini pasta pie

Part of this forum was the opportunity to have a fun time making healthy dishes with the little ones. The chef told us that it is always good to read the labels on the bottles or cans of food that we purchase. More often than not, they contain a high level of sugar and she advocated that we make our own sauce, dips, etc.

So that day, we were taught how to make our own pasta sauce.

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It is pretty easy and I like it that they use natural ingredients (apart from the canned chopped tomatoes and tomato paste). Make a big amount and you can store the rest for future use. No need to buy those bottled pasta sauce in future ( I was told there is about 1/4 cup of sugar in each bottle. That’s a lot of sugar!)

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Next, the children got to assemble their own pasta pies! Just combine the penna pasta, mixed vegetables or broccoli, pasta sauce and cheese before baking. It’s that easy! Faith had a fun time doing it and I realised that we can do simple cooking such as this at home. I’m going to try this recipe again. So stay tuned!

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To complete the meal, the children had to make their own dessert – fruits kebab.

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I must say this activity made me nervous. The kids had to cut the fruits into smaller pieces and our little girl was super enthusiastic about cutting. The knife was really sharp and I had to stop her from doing it herself. Other than that, it was pure joy to see her enjoying herself.

imageLunch is ready!

Toothbrushing tips

:: Brush at least 2 times a day, once in the morning and once a night before sleeping

:: Toothbrushing must be supervised. This is because a young child would not know how to brush their teeth well until the age of 7.

:: Be systematic when you brush. Divide the upper and lower jaws into 3 segment each and brush all surfaces of a tooth

:: A good brush will take about 2 – 3 minutes

:: Brush the teeth and gums and angle the bristles at 45 degrees to the gumline

:: A toothbrush with small head and soft rounded bristles is good for kids. Replace once every 3 months.

:: For children who can spit effectively, they can use 1000ppm fluoride or a pea-sized amount to brush their teeth. When asked about the use of fluoride-free toothpaste for young kids, Dr JJ warned that the children tend to swallow the toothpaste as well since they can be swallowed. This might hinder them from learning to use the fluoride toothpaste as they grow older. Her own thought would be to use water to brush their teeth before they learn how to spit.

More info on oral health for children can be found here.

Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutralizer

We were lastly introduced to the Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection with Sugar Acid Neutralizer which claims to be a new standard of oral care that makes a cavity-free future possible. It is clinically proven to fight tooth decay in two ways. Firstly, its patented Sugar Acid Neutralizer helps deactivate sugar acids before they can harm teeth. Secondly, with fluoride an calcium, it also strengthens and restores the enamel to help prevent cavity formation.

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We were all given a pack to try the new product at home and so far, it has been good. It feels as if your teeth are cleaned just like when you are at the dentist. If the product delivers what it claims to do, then it will be worthwhile to have Faith use it when she have learnt how to spit. For now, the Mama is still trying out! 😉

This is a short video to illustrate how the new breakthrough technology Sugar Acid Neutralizer works. Do visit www.facebook.com/ColgateSG or www.colgate.com.sg for more information on the product.

Thank you, Colgate, for this invitation. We truly had fun during the baking session with the chefs at Expat Kitchen and benefited much from the informative session on oral care with Dr JJ. Even Faith gave a thumbs up!

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Disclaimer: The family was invited to attend the baking workshop organised by Colgate. No monetary compensation was given. Information on dental care was written based on what I have gathered from the session and from limited research via the internet.

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