Published on July 2, 2008 at 2:26 AM
Dentists in Britain say children should not brush their teeth after every meal, they say it may be doing their teeth more harm than good.
A study of dentists and parents of school-age children, by toothpaste company Sensodyne, found that 53 per cent of five-year-olds had tooth erosion.
Experts are suggesting that acid in food and drink can make tooth enamel soft and using a toothbrush straight after eating can scratch the surface of the teeth and wear them down.
Professor Jimmy Steele of the School of Dental Sciences at the University of Newcastle, analysed the study, and he says children should avoid brushing immediately after consuming acidic food or drinks as this is when the enamel is at its softest.
He says adult teeth generally start to appear when children are six years-old and need to last a lifetime, so protection from an early age is vital; he says children should be encouraged to drink acid drinks with a straw placed towards the back of the mouth away from teeth.
While the main cause of acid erosion is drinks, fizzy ones are not the only culprits as those containing fruit are also high in acid.
According to the research even eating an orange and sucking out the juice from segments is bad for erosion.
The research found that 93 per cent of parents are not aware of which types of food and drink contain acid and 58 per cent say their children smother food in sauces or dressings, not realising this is a major cause of acid erosion.