Worried about your child’s teeth?
There are plenty of ways you can ensure your child’s teeth are healthy during their childhood. With regular daily care, you won’t need to be concerned.
Today at River Practice, we are discussing the importance of dental hygiene at a young age while also looking at ways we can maintain happy teeth and gums.
When issues do appear, you will know where to turn!
The importance of looking after your child’s teeth
Your baby’s first teeth will appear around six months but good dental hygiene must begin before this.
Between the age of 0 and 2, it is important to do the following tips to keep your child’s teeth strong and clean.
After feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a washcloth, as this will remove any plaque, which could lead to tooth decay or infection. Use a soft bristle brush twice a day and remember to see the dentist about your child’s teeth before they turn 1 years old.
From the age of 3 you can begin to use fluoride toothpaste. Place a pea-sized amount on a soft bristle brush and brush their teeth twice a day, while also ensuring they spit the toothpaste out into a cup or sink.
Your dentist will advise that you to book an appointment every 6 months to make sure your child has healthy gums and teeth.
As your child gets older and reaches the age of 6, while also maintaining good brushing twice a day, you must also floss in between their teeth to remove all traces of plaque.
It is also important that your child understands that their milk teeth will fall out and will be replaced with adult teeth. This will make them more confident and understanding of the situation.
As your child gets older, you should supervise your child as they begin to care for their teeth alone. With this kind reminder, your child will understand the importance and continue their habit of a healthy smile.
For more information: Dental Care.
Regular visits to the dentist and building confidence
As previously mentioned, your child should be taken to the dentist before their first birthday. This will ensure you child’s mouth is healthy. Not only is it important for your child’s dental hygiene, they will also gain confidence in visiting.
They will begin to get familiar with their surroundings; on their next visit, the sights, smells and noises will soon not seem so alien.
If your child does not attend dental appointments on a regular basis, this could lead to a fear of visiting in the future. If this is the case, they could miss their appointments at an older age and this could lead to tooth decay, gum disease and infections if they do not look after their teeth properly.
During visits to the dentist with your child, remain positive and confident. Your child will turn to you if they are in an unfamiliar location – therefore you must make this a positive experience for them.
Choose the right toothbrush
When looking to buy a toothbrush for your child, there are a number of options available. From colourful, sparkly to characters dotted across it – choose one that your child will like. If the toothbrush is colourful and fun, this will make your child more confident to brush their teeth.
While you shop, buy a toothbrush that is small headed and has soft bristles that are suitable for the age of your child.
When cleaning your child’s teeth make sure they understand the importance of cleanliness. Let them know that their toothbrush should be stored in a dry and clean place to avoid the spread of bacteria.
Don’t forget to replace your child’s toothbrush regularly to keep it clean and avoid bacteria spreading.
Toothpaste and fluoride
Use fluoride toothpaste as soon as your child’s first milk tooth appears. This will combat any plaque that has formed on the teeth – during the early years; use a smear of toothpaste while cleaning.
As you child reaches the age of seven they can move on to family toothpaste containing 1350 to 1500 part per million fluoride, with a pea size amount twice a day.
If you are unsure about the amount of fluoride you are using for your child, ask your dentist for advice.
How do I brush my child’s teeth?
The best thing to do when it comes to teeth cleaning time is to sit your child in the same spot every time next to a mirror. This way they can see exactly what you are doing and will get into a habit of brushing their teeth in the same place.
Use your hand to guide the positioning of the brush and use an egg timer to count down the two minutes of solid cleaning! If you are struggling with getting your child to brush their teeth, try and make it a fun experience but do not allow them to run around with the toothbrush as this could lead to accidents.
Are your child’s teeth crooked?
If your child needs braces, the NHS will provide orthodontic treatment for free to under 18s. A good age for your child to receive this treatment is at the age of 12 while their teeth are still growing.
If your child’s teeth appear crooked, crowded or protruding, take them to the dentist to find out more about the suitable treatments available. Your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist to get your child braces.
This procedure straightens teeth and corrects the bite, making the teeth easier to clean. The process usually takes between 18 months to two years to complete and your child will need to visit the orthodontist every four to six to eight weeks during this treatment.
Tooth friendly foods
You may be doing everything you can to make your child have good oral hygiene but are you also thinking about the food they are consuming?
Some foods can be disastrous for teeth, mainly those that are sugary or acidic. Give your child a variety of healthy foods throughout the day, and also plenty of water to wash their mouth. Avoid drinks that are fizzy and full of sugar as this could lead to a build up of plaque and also tooth decay.
If your child is ill, try to avoid medicine with sugar and choose alternatives such as sugar free options.
Top foods to give your child include milk and cheese for healthy teeth and bones. Fruits and raw vegetables are also a great snack to give to your child, not only does this encourages a healthy diet it also replaces sugary food with energy boosting goodies.
Also, try to avoid dried fruit as snacks due to the high sugar content. This however is a good alternative to desserts!
What about sweets?
It is unlikely your child will want to stay away from sweets but make sure this is not a regular occurrence. Too many sugary foods can lead to tooth decay.
If you do give your child sweets, try and avoid this at night when your child will have less of a saliva flow. Also, do not give your child sweets are rewards as they may wish to have sweets on a regular basis.
Toothache can be a painful and uncomfortable experience for your child. This is usually cased by too much sugar in their diet and this could lead to tooth decay.
Teething can also be distressing, this usually begins at 6 months and can be on-going during the teenage years. Choose sugar free medicine to sooth the pain and if it continues to persist do not hesitate to visit the dentist or doctor.
Top tips to remember:
- Brush twice a day
- Floss regularly
- Supervise child brushing their teeth
- Visit the dentist regularly
- Replace toothbrush regularly
- Talk to the dentist if you are concerned
River Practice and children’s teeth
River Practice, based in Truro Cornwall is a family friendly dental centre offering a wide range of treatment.
All of our member of staff are welcoming and understand that your child may be nervous to visit the dentist.
Our dentists have great experience with all ages, making our patients feel as relaxed as possible.
Our newest addition is Tamsin, a specialist in paediatric dentistry and special care. She has had vast experience in working with children, and has developed a service for children with complex needs and was involved in planning on of the first outpatient dental day surgery centres in London.
Within our centre, we offer orthodontics, perfect for those who wish to straighten their smile. If you wish to discuss your treatment options for your child, we will begin with an initial consultation.
There are a number of options to consider such as fixed or removable braces. For both options, there are ‘nearly invisible braces’ which are either removable clear aligners – such as Invisalign or ‘behind the teeth’ fixed braces called Incognito.
You can find out more by heading to our Orthodontics page here.
If you are yet to see a dentist with your child or wish to discuss treatment options, contact our team here.