Looking After Your Child’s Teeth
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Looking after your child’s teeth

Looking after your child’s teeth
Harpenden Dentist - Wayside Dental Practice
12, Jun 2019

Parents often ask us:

  • When should I take my child for their first dental check-up?
  • When will my child’s teeth appear?
  • How can I help my child maintain their oral health?
  • What type of toothbrush and toothpaste should my child use?
  • What if my child is nervous about going to the dentist?

We recommend that children should go to the dentist with their parents as soon as possible. This will get them used to the noises, smells and surroundings to prepare them for future visits. We aim to make their first check-up visit fun, so they will have a go in the chair, a look at the surgery, a simple check around the mouth and, of course, some stickers.

Baby teeth start to appear when your child is around 6 months of age. All 20 baby teeth should appear by the age of 30 months. The first permanent adult molars (back teeth) will appear at about 6 years, before the baby teeth start to fall out at about aged 6 or 7. All permanent teeth should be in place by the age of 14, except wisdom teeth that appear anytime between 18 and 25.

It’s vital that baby teeth are well cared for until permanent teeth start coming through as these teeth are more susceptible to decay than adult teeth as the enamel is thinner and not as hard. Decay in baby teeth can also impact on adult teeth and affect their positioning. Tooth extraction sadly remains the most common reason for children being admitted to hospital for general anaestheticin the UK.

To maintain good oral hygiene and instill healthy habits, follow these basic steps:

  • Use a soft, small headed brush to clean teeth.
  • Children should get used to brushing their teeth twice a day and always last thing at night.
  • Usefluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps protect the teeth against early decay.
  • Ensure childrenspit out the fluoride paste- it is better not to rinse.
  • Limit sugar to mealtimes. Some processed baby foods contain a lot of sugar-always read the label to ensure your child isn’t having hidden sugars.
  • Keeps snacks and drinks sugar free- try humous with cruditĂ©s, cheese on sugar free crackers, popcorn, whole fruit. And just give water or milk to drink- smoothies are full of sugar as sugar is released when fruit is blended.

Habits start early, so if your child is used to caring for their teeth, this should carry on into adulthood.

There are many types, colours and shapes of toothbrush on the market, just make sure it’s a soft, small headed one. Using a power toothbrush can help make brushing fun and also will make sure your child brushes for the correct amount of time. Fluoride isn’t added to the water in Harpenden, so it is important to use a fluoride toothpaste to help protect against decay. Children up to the age of 3 should use a smear of toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm. After 3 years of age they should use a pea sized amount of 1350ppm to 1500ppm.

Children can sense fear in their parents, so it is important not to let your child feel that a visit to the dentist is something to be worried about. Don’t let your child hear any of your worries about dental treatment. Regular dental visits will help get your child used to the dentist so that they are relaxed about any treatment that might be required.

At Wayside check-ups for children aged 5 and under are free of charge. After that, there is a private fee scale for children and we also have an Oral Care Plan for children aged 6 to 18 years which is currently ÂŁ6.61 per month. Should your child require any treatment, we use The Wand for pain free anaesthesia and dental lasers and air abrasion for minimally invasive dentistry. To find out more, ask one of our receptionists or contact Danni, our Practice Manager.