Dental Care for Children’s Teeth
When should I take my child to the dentist?
It is recommended that children go to the dentist with their parents as soon as possible. This will let them get used to the noises, smells and surroundings and prepare them for future visits. The earlier these visits begin, the more relaxed the child will be.
When will my child’s teeth come through?
First or ‘baby’ teeth have usually developed before your child is born and will start to come through at around 6 months. All 20 baby teeth should be in the mouth by the age of two-and-a-half.
The first permanent ‘adult’ molars (back teeth) will appear at about 6 years, behind the baby teeth and before the first teeth start to fall out at about 6 to 7. The adult teeth will then replace the baby teeth. It is usually the lower front teeth that are lost first, followed by the upper front teeth shortly after. All adult teeth should be in place by the age of 13, except the wisdom teeth. These may come through at any time between 18 and 25 years of age.
How should I clean my child’s teeth?
Cleaning your child’s teeth should be part of their daily hygiene routine.
- You may find it easier to stand or sit behind your child, cradling their chin in your hand so you can reach their top and bottom teeth more easily.
- When the first teeth start to come through, try using a children’s toothbrush with a small smear of toothpaste.
- It is important to supervise your child’s brushing until they are at least seven.
- Once all the teeth have come through, use a small-headed soft toothbrush in small circular movements and try to concentrate on one section at a time.
- Don’t forget to brush gently behind the teeth and onto the gums.
- If possible make tooth brushing a routine – preferably in the morning, and last thing before your child goes to bed.
- Remember to encourage your child, as praise will often get results!
What sort of brush should children use?
There are many different types of children’s toothbrushes. These include brightly coloured brushes, ones that change colour, ones with favourite characters on the handle, and some with a timer. These all encourage children to brush their teeth. The most important point is to use a small-headed toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles, suitable for the age of your child.
How can I prevent tooth decay in my child?
The main cause of tooth decay is not the amount of sugar and acid in the diet, but how often it is eaten or drunk. The more often your child has sugary or acidic foods or drinks, the more likely they are to have decay. It is therefore important to keep sugary and acidic foods to mealtimes only. If you want to give your child a snack, try to stick to vegetables, fruit and cheese. Try to limit dried fruit as it is high in sugar and can stick to the teeth.
Thorough brushing for two minutes, twice a day, particularly last thing at night, will help to prevent tooth decay. Pit and fissure sealants are another way to prevent decay.