Advertorial Feature Blog by King Lane Dental Care
When should I first take my children to the dentist?
We recommend that your children should go to the dentist with you as soon as possible. Whilst they are unlikely to require any intervention at a very early age, taking them regularly whilst having your appointments, will let them get used to the unusual surroundings and prepare them for future visits. The earlier these visits start, the more relaxed the children will be.
When will my child’s teeth appear?
First teeth (‘baby teeth’ or ‘milk teeth’) usually start to appear when your child is around 6 months old, although it’s not unusual for the first tooth to delay its appearance until up to 12 months. Usually, all 20 baby teeth should appear by the age of 2.
The first permanent molars (adult back teeth) will appear at about 6 years. Remember, these teeth erupt behind the last baby teeth at the back of the mouth, so no baby tooth is lost to make room for them. We often find that parents are surprised that their children have adult teeth before they have lost any baby teeth.
The first baby teeth start to fall out at a similar time ie 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 permanent teeth should be in place by the age of 13, except the ‘wisdom’ teeth which are also known as the third molar teeth. These may appear any time between 18 and 25 years of age. Many people don’t have wisdom teeth.
All children are different and develop at different rates, so if unsure, ask your dentist or dental hygienist.
How should I clean my child’s teeth?
Cleaning your child’s teeth should be part of their daily 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 (that’s why we examine teeth that way!). If it’s a battle to start with, let them have a go on their own first & then you take over. They’ll get used to the routine eventually!
When the first teeth start to appear, try using a toothbrush designed for children, it should have a small head, & use a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. We recommend children’s toothpaste which has about half the fluoride content of adult toothpaste. Using adult toothpaste is fine as long as the amount used is small.
Fluoride makes teeth surfaces strong & resistant to decay. Do not allow your young children to eat toothpaste. Swallowing small amounts of toothpaste is not harmful, but regular excessive consumption can lead to irregularities in the enamel formation. This phenomenon can occur when further Fluoride supplements have been administered along with higher than normal Fluoride content in the water supply. The Fluoride in Leeds water is low (none is artificially added). We do not routinely recommend Fluoride supplements. You should encourage your children to spit out the toothpaste & avoid rinsing with water afterwards. This way the fluoride stays in the mouth for longer and will be more effective.
It is important to supervise your child’s brushing until they are at least seven. This ensures that they are actually doing it!
Once all the teeth have appeared, use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles in small, circular movements and try to concentrate on one section at a time, making sure that you complete all areas.
Don’t forget to brush gently behind the teeth and onto the gums. Make brushing a routine – just before your child goes to bed and after breakfast before they go to school.
Remember to offer encouragement & praise.
What sort of brush should children use?
There are many different types of children’s toothbrushes, some with favourite characters on the handle, and some with a timer. These all encourage children to brush their teeth. The most important thing is to use a small-headed toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles, suitable for the age of your child.
Once you are confident that your children are brushing well, the use of an electric toothbrush is perfectly acceptable. They can help to make brushing fun and make sure your child brushes for the correct amount of time. However, be warned, an electric toothbrush only goes where you put it, so they still need to follow a pattern & complete all areas!
How can I prevent tooth decay in my child?
The main cause of tooth decay is not the amount of sugar or 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. So it is important to save sugary and acidic foods at mealtimes which will almost inevitably contain some sugar anyway. When it comes to snacking, try to stick to cheese, vegetables and fruit. Although do try to limit dried fruit as it is high in sugar and can stick to the teeth. Fizzy drinks are generally bad for teeth, both with sugar & sugar-free. Occasional consumption is fine, but daily excessive consumption of fizzy drinks &/or fresh fruit juices can lead to significant loss of enamel &/or decay.
Try to avoid giving your children drinks containing sugars, including fruit juices, between meals. Try to give them water or milk instead. For babies, don’t add sugar to their drinks, or to foods when you introduce them to solids.
Never hesitate in asking your dentist or hygienist for advice.
Children of parents who attend King Lane Dental Care are treated free of charge. To book your appointment or for more information call 0113 268 5711.
King Lane Dental Care, 87 King Lane, Leeds, LS17 5AX