The first trip to the dentist can happen as soon as that first tooth appears and it’s a milestone that you’ll never forget. Your child’s first dentist visit (when they’re around six months old) should really just be to make sure everything’s growing and developing the way it should. And because children are treated free, you won’t need to worry about the cost either. As they get a little older you might like to take them with you when you visit the dentist for your own check-ups. That way your child will get accustomed to being at the dentist and will be far more familiar with the sights and sounds of this weird and wonderful place!
If your child has a toothache, please make an appointment with your dentist.
Children often love sugar and fizzy drinks. Unfortunately, some of the bacteria that live on teeth love these as well and turn the sugars into acid, which attacks the enamel. If your child keeps eating sugary foods (or drinking sugary drinks) then their teeth are exposed to acid for a lot longer. That’s when the teeth can start to decay. Protecting your child’s teeth isn’t just about how much sugar they have, it’s also about how often they have it.
Try and persuade them to limit sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes – and stick snacks without added sugar such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, milk and water in between meals.
Milk, cheese, yoghurt, calcium-set tofu, sesame seeds, tahini, white and brown bread, fortified unsweetened soya, rice, and oat drinks: these are all rich in calcium, which is good for teeth and bones.
Flossing helps prevent plaque and removes food debris trapped in between teeth. Ask your dentist when the best time for your child is to start flossing. As your child gets older, you can teach them to floss on their own.
You can help prevent tooth decay by:
• Brushing twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
• Visiting a dentist regularly
• Making sure that all teeth are brushed carefully, even those at the back
• Maintaining a healthy diet and limiting the amount and frequency of sugary foods and drinks.
If a tooth falls out, book an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible, to ensure that your child receives expert care for long-term happy and healthy development.
Teeth grinding or bruxism on a regular basis can cause damage to the teeth. You can consult your dentist about a mouth guard for your child.
Fruit juice, squashes, and fizzy drinks (even diet ones) are often acidic. And if your child drinks a lot of them, the acid can lead to erosion of the enamel in their teeth.
This is different from tooth decay because rather than it being focused at a specific point, acid erosion attacks the whole surface of the tooth at once making the protective surface thinner.
This can make the teeth sensitive, and can also make them more vulnerable to decay. But there are some simple ways it can be avoided:
• Avoid eating or drinking acidic food and beverages frequently
• Limit acidic drink intake to mealtimes and consume no more than one fruit drink per day
• Brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day
• Avoid brushing right after eating or drinking acidic food or drinks
The flat chewing surfaces of the teeth at the back of our mouth aren’t actually all that flat. They’re full of little dents called ‘fissures’. This makes it easier for decay to set in. If your dentist feels your child needs extra protection from tooth decay, they may recommend sealing them up. This will usually only occur around the age of 6 or 7. This is a simple and painless process, which can be performed on their big teeth. A layer of plastic coating is applied which then hardens into a protective layer. The effect is that the teeth are protected from decay.