2nd October 2017
As we all head back to work, school and nursery after the summer break, we reflect on how to care for our children's teeth as part of our busy schedule:
10 top tips to care for your children's teeth
It is recommended that children go to the dentist, along with their parents, as soon as possible. The earlier the children visit, the more relaxed the visit to the dentist will be.
You should ensure that they attend for regular check-ups, usually every six months. This will help them to get used to the strange environment, noises and smells.
Cleaning your child's teeth should be part of their daily hygiene routine, preferably in the morning and last thing before bed.
You may find it easier to stand or sit behind the child, cradling their chin in your hand so that you can reach their top and bottom teeth easily
When the first teeth start to come through into the mouth, try using a children's toothbrush with a small smear of children's toothpaste.
Once all the teeth have come through, use a small-headed toothbrush in a circular motion, and try to concentrate on one tooth at a time. Don't forget to brush the back and biting surfaces of each tooth, and also on to the gums.
Children will need help with brushing until the age of 7 or until good dexterity is developed.
Fluoride comes from a number of different sources including toothpaste, specific fluoride applications and sometimes drinking water. These can all help to prevent dental decay. If you are unsure about fluoride, ask your dentist or health visitor.
The general rule is to use toothpaste designed for your child's age group. Use a smear of paste up to 5 years, less than a pea size for 5 to 7 year olds, and a normal pea size for over 7s. Children should be supervised up to this age and you should make sure that they spit out the toothpaste and do not swallow any if possible.
Toothache can be painful and upsetting, especially in children. The main cause of this is tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by too much sugar, too often in the diet. Teething can also cause toothache, when teeth begin to grow into the mouth at about 6 months.
Regular check-ups when your child does not have a dental problem will mean that your child's first visit to the dentist is not associated with the distress caused by toothache or trauma.
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