15 Sep How Should I Look After My Children’s Teeth?
Looking after your children’s teeth – what we recommend…
- As soon as the first tooth appears, we would love you to bring your baby to the dentist. We can check things are looking healthy, give advice and make it a fun experience.
- Brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and not rinsing mouth or brush with water afterwards. See below for recommended fluoride levels.
- Try to limit the amount of sugar that is eaten. At first the parent has complete control of what children eat and it is the time to get healthy habits -See below for more details.
Your baby will start to get their first teeth around 6 months of age, and by the age of around 2 1/2 all 20 baby teeth should be present. From the moment their first tooth appears, brush your baby’s teeth and gums at least twice daily, in the morning and last thing at night. For children under the age of three, use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles with a smear layer of toothpaste containing at least 1000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride,
At first your baby may find it a bit strange but will soon get used to the soothing feeling.
Find a place that is comfortable and safe for baby. Always supervise tooth brushing and never leave a baby or small child alone with a toothbrush or toothpaste.
Tooth brushing positions
- On your knee
- On a changing mat
- In a baby chair or high chair
- Sitting in a pram or buggy
- In the bath.
When to brush?
- Pick a time that is convenient to you
- Think of your child’s daily routine, perhaps at playtime or bath time
- Eventually you can move on to a morning and night time routine.
3-6 years old
Assist tooth brushing until about eight years of age as by then their coordination will be fully developed and they will be able to brush properly.
Children should be encouraged to do some of the brushing themselves so that they develop tooth brushing skills. Remember to encourage your child. Praise will often get results.
Children between three and six years old should brush at least twice daily with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1000-1450ppm fluoride.
6 years old +
Adult teeth start to appear between the ages of 6 – 13 years old. There is a lot going on with mixed baby and adult teeth and so it’s very important to establish a good routine.
Brush teeth twice daily for a minimum of 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste containing 1350-1500ppm fluoride.
Brushing your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways of preventing 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).
Toothpastes containing 1350-1500ppm fluoride are the most effective. Your dentist may advise you to use higher-strength toothpaste if you or your child is at particular risk of tooth decay.
Don’t use mouthwash at the same time as brushing. Use it at an alternative time, because it washes away the fluoride in the toothpaste.
Do not rinse mouth out with water after brushing, as this also washes away the fluoride.
- Drink water or milk where possible. Fizzy drinks, fruit juice and diluting juice all have sugar which can cause tooth decay. Reduce frequency or stop altogether if possible, if not always drink through a straw or have with a meal.
- Choose healthy snacks like- bread sticks, oatcakes, crackers, rice cakes, a plain or cheese scone, a crumpet, a bagel, celery, banana and apples.
- Some foods/drinks have dietary acids in them, for example citrus fruits and fruit smoothies, vinaigrettes, any fizzy drinks including fizzy water, these can cause wear on teeth so try and stop/reduce consumption. If consumed, drink through a straw, rinse mouth with water or milk after, chew sugar free chewing gum and avoid brushing teeth for 45 minutes afterwards.
While electric toothbrushes are not suitable for young children below the age of three, manufacturers design their toothbrushes for particular age groups to ensure optimal cleaning and oral care.
It is essential to purchase an electric toothbrush that has been especially adapted for a child. That means softer bristles and easier-to-grip handles, amongst other features.
All our team are trained to help give you advice and guide you so do ask if you’re unsure. Preventing dental decay and gum disease really is possible with the right guidance so it’s worth taking time to get it right.
If you wish to discuss the dental health of your children or simply want some advice, please get in touch with Stafford Street Dental Care in the City Centre of Edinburgh EH3