Our dentists and oral health educators are often asked for advice on how to care for young children’s teeth, so here are our top tips.
Cleaning your baby’s teeth
Toothbrushing should be started before the teeth erupt. This allows your baby to get used to having a brush in their mouth. To brush your baby’s teeth, lay them flat with their feet facing away from your body. Using a small piece of gauze or soft baby toothbrush, gently stroke the gums. When teeth begin to appear, use a pea sized amount of toothpaste pushed well into the bristles. Always brush twice a day.
Cleaning your toddler’s teeth
Sit them on your lap or stand behind them. Gently brush their teeth in circular motions and brush each surface of every tooth. Brush for at least two minutes. Clean your child’s teeth twice a day up to the age of seven or eight and then supervise their cleaning up to the age of 12.
How to reduce decay
– Use still water as a thirst quencher in a bottle or cup
– Do not add sugar or honey to drinks
– Avoid fruit juices or squash between meals
– Do not have sugary drinks or fruit juices at bedtime
– Remove the bottle or cup when your child has finished drinking to avoid continuous sipping
If your baby uses a dummy
– Do not dip the dummy in sugar solutions or syrup as this can cause severe tooth decay
– Children should be weaned off dummies before their permanent front teeth erupt (approximately 6 years old)
– Do not suck your baby’s dropped dummy then give it to your baby, as this can pass on oral infections
– A dummy should have a large mouthguard (kept outside of the lips) with 2 venting holes to allow your baby to breathe
– A dummy should have no tears or holes in the rubber and should be flat rather than round in shape
Visiting the dentist
Parents need to think about the long-term care of their baby’s teeth, even before the teeth have erupted. No baby is too young to attend St.James Dental so bring your baby with you when you come for your next oral health check. We recommend babies start their routine dental examinations from six months old. We always regard children as very special patients and do everything we can to make their visits as pleasant and as enjoyable as possible. Our main aim is to help all children form good dental habits and an early interest in dental health. This will prevent problems with their teeth in later life.
Children are entitled to free dental care with us under the National Health Service, we see children up to the age of 18 free of charge. If you would like to make an appointment or register call our reception team today on 01452 727667.
Don’t forget your child’s diet
Sugar in a child’s diet produces acid that attacks their teeth. Their teeth are exposed to this acid for up to 30 minutes after eating and drinking sugary foods. At this point, their teeth are at risk of decay. Limit sugary foods to meal times only, remember it’s not the amount of sugar consumed, it’s how often!Back to Blog