05 Jan How To Look After Your Children’s Teeth
How to look after Children’s Teeth
There is nothing more important than giving your child the best start in life, and taking care of teeth is an essential part of this.
From brushing their first tooth to their first trip to the dentist, here’s how to take care of your children’s teeth.
A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for good dental health. Follow these tips and you can help keep your kids’ teeth decay-free:
Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through (usually at around six months, but it can be earlier or later). It’s important to use a fluoride paste, as this helps to prevent and control tooth decay.
A range of toothpastes are available that contain different levels of fluoride. The amount of fluoride that’s in the toothpaste can be found on the side of the tube and is measured in parts per million (ppm).
Children under three years old should brush twice daily, with a smear of toothpaste containing no less than 1000ppm fluoride.
Children between three and six years old should brush at least twice daily with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing more than 1000ppm fluoride.
Children over six years old should brush at least twice daily with a toothpaste containing 1350-1500ppm fluoride.
Make sure children don’t eat or lick toothpaste from the tube.
Brush your child’s teeth for about two minutes twice a day: once just before bedtime and at least one other time during the day.
Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste, but not to rinse with lots of water. Rinsing with water after tooth brushing will wash away the fluoride and make it less effective.
Supervise tooth brushing until your child is seven or eight years old, either by brushing their teeth yourself or, if they brush their own teeth, by watching how they do it. From the age of seven or eight, they should be able to brush their own teeth, but it’s still a good idea to watch them now and again to make sure they brush properly and for about two minutes.
How to help children brush their teeth properly
Guide your child’s hand so they can feel the correct movement.
Use a mirror to help your child see exactly where the brush is cleaning their teeth.
Make tooth brushing as fun as possible by using an egg or a phone timer to time it for about two minutes.
A poor diet can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. Almost all foods, including milk and vegetables, contain some type of sugar; however; these foods are a necessary part of a healthy diet, because many of them also contain important nutrients. To help control the amount of sugar you consume, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Try to drink water over fizzy drinks and diluting/fruit juices.
When you’re deciding about snacks, think about:
1) The number of times a day your child eats sugary snacks, try to avoid snacking between meals
2) How long the sugary food stays in your child’s mouth
3) The texture of the sugary food – chewy sticky foods are worse for teeth.
Taking your child to the dentist
Take your child to the dentist when their first milk teeth appear. This is so they become familiar with the environment and get to know the dentist. Just opening up the child’s mouth for the dentist to take a look at is useful practice for the future.
When you visit the dentist, be positive about it and make the trip fun. This will stop your child worrying about future visits.
Fluoride varnish and fissure sealants
Fissure sealants can be done once your child’s permanent back teeth have started to come through (usually at the age of about six or seven) to protect them from decay. This is where the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are covered with a special thin plastic coating to keep germs and food particles out of the grooves. The sealant can last for as long as 5 to 10 years.
Fluoride varnish can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth. It involves painting a varnish that contains high levels of fluoride on to the surface of the tooth every six months to prevent decay. It works by strengthening tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.
At Stafford Street Dental Care we love to take care of children and their teeth. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you’d like us to help take care of your child’s teeth!