Taking care of your child’s teeth instills healthy habits and provides a good oral foundation. Teaching children to protect their teeth with proper habits protects their primary teeth from improper care. Ask our team of oral healthcare professionals in our London dental practice how to care for your child’s teeth.
As a parent, you want your child to have healthy gums and teeth. Below are some ways you can help protect their teeth and prevent decay.
Children at this age may have the best intentions brushing their teeth, but they may miss areas, brush incorrectly, or swallow toothpaste. If your child wants to brush their teeth themselves, let them. A parent should do a final brush, ensuring that every tooth surface gets cleaned.
As you supervise their tooth brushing, make sure children aren’t brushing too hard, as this may hurt their gums. Teach them to hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and brush in gentle circles on all tooth surfaces. For parents of babies, use a soft baby toothbrush or a clean, damp washcloth to brush their gums and teeth.
Mouths contain bacteria that react to the sugar we consume through food and drinks, producing an acid that can wear away a tooth’s enamel. Cavities may result when this happens. Proper brushing gets rid of harmful bacteria and sugars and keeps teeth clean and healthy. Using fluoride toothpaste makes teeth stronger and more resistant to the acid produced by the bacteria. This toothpaste reduces the risk of cavities and helps reverse early signs of tooth decay.
Children over six can use an adult-strength fluoride toothpaste formula using about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Little ones who rinse their mouth out with water after they finish brushing may be putting their oral health at risk. Rinsing a mouth after brushing, whether with water or mouthwash, removes fluoride that needs to stay on our teeth to do its job. We need fluoride to protect the teeth, preventing tooth decay. Instead of rinsing, have your child spit out as much toothpaste as possible, letting the fluoride can do its work.
The mouth bacteria that feed off of sugar and release acid have a field day with fruit juice or fizzy drinks. These types of beverages have plenty of sugars (either natural or added) and syrups for sweetness. These types of beverages can cause a lot of harm to teeth and should be consumed in moderation, such as with a meal.
In between meals, parents can provide milk or water. Milk contains natural sugar, but it provides little ones with calcium and vitamin D for growing and maintaining healthy bones. Water is a healthy choice, keeping kids hydrated and satisfying their thirst at the same time without any harmful sugars.
During mealtimes, offer children a straw for their drink to reduce their chance of cavities. Sipping from a cup enables the drink to pool in the mouth and can have a harsh effect on teeth. A straw helps position the beverage toward the back of the mouth. This reduces the effects of acidic beverages since the teeth are less exposed to the sugar and acid in the drink.
Of course, this is only helpful if a child consumes the drink immediately. If they swish the fizzy drink around their mouth before swallowing, the helpful effects from using a straw are moot.
Drinking fast has advantages for teeth. The damage sugar does depend on the amount consumed, how long it’s in the mouth, and how often the teeth are exposed to it. Sipping a beverage over time coats the teeth in sugars over and over with each sip.
Similar to consuming drinks quickly, limiting eating sugary foods to mealtimes is better for your teeth. Eating creates extra saliva in our mouths which helps protect teeth and keep the mouth clean. The more little ones eat sugary food items, the more their teeth are exposed to the sugars and acid that can cause decay. Instead of having sweet treats between meals, having them right after meals limits exposure to sugars.
Make an appointment with our children’s dentist when your little one shows signs of tooth pain or decay. Leaving decayed teeth without treatment makes dental issues worse over time and treatment becomes more involved and more expensive.
Using fluoride decreases dental cavities. Many children receive a sufficient amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water. For children 6 months and over whom do not receive enough fluoride, we may recommend supplements. Fluoride supplements come in drops, tablets, or vitamins. They are suitable for children who are susceptible to tooth decay due to family history or other reasons. The dosage we recommend depends on what we see during an oral health exam.
Dental cavities are a common problem in children worldwide. We recommend that you bring your child to the paediatric dentist to assess the damage and treat their cavities. Children’s dentists may fill cavities in primary teeth to keep them healthy until permanent teeth come through. We use fillings to restore the appearance, shape, and function of teeth.
At Weymouth Street Paediatric Dentistry, we assess the decay, fill existing cavities, and remind your child of the best way to care for their teeth.
The small grooves in the molars and premolars may be large enough to warrant fissure sealant. This protective plastic coating takes moments to apply and harden. The thin coating stops food and bacteria from going inside the tiny grooves, reducing the risk of tooth decay. Unlike fillings, which are restorative treatments, fissure sealants are preventative treatments for children.
33 Weymouth Street, London, W1G 7BY