Children’s healthy diet

Can I give my child fizzy drinks and fruit juice?

Generally speaking the only drinks safe for teeth which can be consumed at any time during the day are plain milk and plain water.

Flavoured milks and waters usually contain sugar and acid and should really only be consumed at meal times.
If you do want to give fruit juice or squash, ensure they are highly diluted. Save fizzy drinks for treats only!
Drinking these through a straw will also help as it allows the drink to bypass most of the teeth.

Fresh fruit juice counts as one of your five-a-day items, but it is extremely acidic so should ideally only be taken at meal times.

What healthy snacks can I offer?

The best safe snacks to have are fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, savoury crackers and bread sticks.

We know they are not quite as exciting a chocolate, but you can make them more fun and appealing for children by making funny faces on a plate, cut them into animal shapes and even get your children involved too! Blueberry eyes, Tomato nose, red pepper smile and broccoli ears! You get our jist.

What snacks should I avoid?

Do beware of dried fruits such as raisins and sultanas. The natural sugars in them are very concentrated due to the dehydrating process and have a tendency to stick to teeth. The natural occurring sugars in dried fruit, will still rot children’s teeth, so be careful.

Sweet sticky foods are the worst, they stick to your teeth and rot them! Avoid these at all costs for good dental health.

Keep the snacks between meals as sugar free as possible and have the sugar treats with or straight after a meal. A much better way of avoiding tooth decay!

Don’t constantly bath your children’s teeth in sugar- Minimal sugar attacks on teeth!

Check The Label

Every parent needs to read the small print where possible! The marketing healthy snacks can be very misleading for parents! Some products claim to be sugar free or have no added sugar , but don’t be fooled into thinking these are safe for teeth. Often sugar can be itemised on in ingredients lists as dextrose, lactose, sucrose and fructose. If it ends in “ose” it’s sugar! They are all sugar in disguise!

  • Any food containing over 22.5% of sugar per 100g on a food label, should be considered high in sugar.
  • Just because a label says NO ADDED SUGAR doesn’t mean to say its not already high in sugar.
  • ASDA Fruit bars for Kids – over 63.9% in sugar per 100g!
  • Fruit Bowl Yogurt Raisins for Kids – over 60% sugar per 100g!
  • Organix Goodies Bar for Kids – 26.3g per 100g! *correct as of February 2015
  • A glass of apple juice contains 7 teaspoons of sugar – the same as a can of coke.
  • A smoothie also contains 7, a yoghurt 4 and a cereal bar 4 and a half!
  • Average sugar in take per child in the UK per day is 42 teaspoons of sugar. Recommended level = 21…..!!!
    (BBC Food unwrapped 2015)

World Health Organisation recommend 6 teaspoons of sugar a day to prevent tooth decay and obesity
(March 2015)

“Either way we are consuming too much sugar”

Is it ok to give chocolate and sweet treats?

Yes of course, a little chocolate or sweetie is fine to give as a treat! Just be mindful of ensuring they don’t become a child’sregular snacking food. The best time to give a child a sugary snacks or drinks is at meal times as we get lots of saliva in our mouths to aid the digestion process and the saliva helps to wash away acid. Reducing the tooth decay damage!

It might only take you ten seconds to eat the biscuit, but the acid can remain in your mouth for up to one hour afterwards. The acid starts to eat away at the enamel on your child’s teeth, so if you have something with sugar in every 1-2 hours you will literally be bathing your teeth in acid all day, which will lead to tooth decay! The solution is to leave enough time in between sugary snacks to help your child’s mouth recover to it’s normal ph level. Limit the sugar attacks

Sweetie Tip!

Consider doing a sweetie jar at home for an after evening meal treat (much better than in between meals)
Then brush before bed.

By doing this, you limit your child’s sugar intake, but not their pleasure!


It’s surprising how much sugar builds up in your family’s diet. At breakfast time… in drinks… in after school snacks and, of course, puddings. But sign up to the governments really useful free Sugar Swaps scheme and they will help you and your family cut back. (Add in the sugar swap logo)

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, otherwise known as dental caries or cavities, is caused by the acids produced by the bacteria in the dental plaque. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria, saliva and food debris that naturally develops on the tooth surface. These bacteria found in the plaque use sugar to produce acids which attack and destroy teeth and tooth enamel.

Prevention Of Tooth Decay In Children

Children aged 3 -17yrs

  • Brush at least twice daily, with a fluoridated toothpaste
  • Brush last thing at night and on one other occasion
  • Brushing should be supervised by a parent or carer up to the age of 6yrs
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste containing more than 1000 ppm fluoride for 3-6yrs and 1350–1500 ppm for 7yrs up
  • It is good practice to use a pea-sized amount
  • Spit out after brushing and do not rinse, to maintain fluoride concentration levels
  • The frequency and amount of sugary food and drinks should be reduced
  • Sugar-free medicines are recommended
  • Prevention Of Gum Disease- ages 12–17 Don’t forget to floss!

Mother & Baby


Milk teeth are essential for speech, good eating habits, a healthy body weight and the self esteem that comes from a confident smile

When will my babies teeth start to come through?

Babies usually start to ‘cut’ their teeth around the age of 6 months, although your baby may show signs of teething earlier than this.

What are the signs of teething?

From about 3 months of age you may notice your baby dribbles more than usual and has a tendency to put things in their mouth. Other signs of teething are red cheeks and a raise in temperature which can sometimes make them irritable and unsettled.

What reliefs are available for teething babies?

Try giving your baby something to chew on like a teething ring which has been in the fridge. The coldness helps to relieve the symptoms, but never put the teething ring in the freezer as it can cause freezer burns to your baby’s gums. A baby toothbrush can also be used as a teething aid as your baby will enjoy chewing on the soft bristles or the end of the brush. The brush massages the gums and also gets your baby used to the feel of a toothbrush in their mouth in preparation for brushing. Never leave your baby unsupervised with a toothbrush!

If your baby has a temperature with teething, depending upon on their age you can give calpol as pain relief. Only give your baby the stated dose or consult your doctor for further advice.

When should I start brushing my babies teeth?

Ideally, a toothbrush should be introduced when the child is teething. This will help them to get used to the feel of a toothbrush in their mouth and also be used as a teething aid. Use a small toothbrush designed for babies and gently massage the gums with the bristles in a circular motion.As soon as your child’s teeth erupt, start brushing them twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and a ‘smear’ of toothpaste is advised for children under 2.

If your not getting on too well with your babies small mouth and a toothbrush, you could always try a
Jack ‘n’ Jill Silicone Finger Brush Its double sided, has delicate bristles for gentle cleaning and a dimpled surface for sore gums.

What drinks can I offer my baby?

There are numerous baby juices available in the supermarkets, however the truth is the only drinks which are healthy for teeth are milk and water. The vast majority of baby drinks contain sugar and acid. Even the herbal juices are harmful to teeth. On average 125ml of made up baby juice contains 4 teaspoons of sugar!

If you do give juice to your baby, always use a free flowing cup and only give at meal times. This will help to reduce the risk of bottle caries which is a condition where the upper front teeth decay as a result of constantly being in contact with sugary drinks.

Can I offer my baby a dummy?

If you feel your baby needs a dummy to settle them it’s fine from a dental perspective, however, there are a few golden rules to remember when using dummies:

  • Make sure it is sterilised correctly.
  • Never dip it in anything, for example honey, sugar or juice as these encourage tooth decay.
  • Only use it as a pacifier (to get your baby to sleep or to comfort them).
  • Don’t allow your baby/toddler to use it all day as it may affect the positioning of teeth when they start to come through, preventing the upper and lower jaws from meeting correctly.
  • Always remove it when your toddler is talking as speech is very often affected in children who are allowed to speak whilst the dummy is still in their mouth.
  • Children from the ages of 3-4 years should be discouraged from using a dummy at this stage in their development as it may cause problems with the positioning of their adult teeth when they start to come through increasing the need for braces in their teens.

Prevention Of Tooth Decay In Babies & Toddlers

Children aged 0- 3 years:

  • From 6 months of age infants should be introduced to drinking from a free-flow cup, and from age 1 year feeding from a bottle should be discouraged
  • Sugar should not be added to weaning foods or drinks
  • Parents or carers should brush or supervise toothbrushing
  • As soon as teeth erupt in the mouth brush them twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste (no less than 1000 ppm fluoride)
  • Brush last thing at night and on one other occasion
  • Sugar-free medicines are recommended