Remember Baby Teeth Matter too!
Your child will begin to start teething at around 6 - 12 months old. It is important to make sure that you start looking after your child’s teeth as soon as they break through – you can even start a good dental hygiene routine early on by gently cleaning your baby’s gums with a soft, clean, damp cloth.
Tooth decay is caused by having too many sugary foods and drinks too often. It can be painful for your child and could lead to an extraction. The good news is that tooth decay is largely preventable by eating a healthy, balanced diet and starting a good tooth brushing routine as soon as your child gets their first teeth.
Tooth brushing tips:
Once your baby’s teeth have started to arrive you should brush them for 2 minutes twice a day – once in the morning and again before your child goes to bed. For children under 3, you should use a smear of fluoride toothpaste and thoroughly brush all surfaces of the teeth, inside and outside to remove any food particles or natural sugars found in milk and formula products. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 years can use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste. It’s important to supervise tooth brushing until your child is seven or eight years old, either by brushing their teeth yourself or, if they brush their own teeth, by watching how they do it. The NHS Choices websites has lots of hints and tips on children’s tooth brushing.
In order to look after your child’s teeth, it’s important to give them a healthy, balanced diet. Remember, sugar causes tooth decay. It’s not just about the amount of sugar in sweet food and drinks, but how long and how often the teeth are in contact with sugar. Some tips for giving your child a tooth-friendly diet include limiting the amount and how often you give sugary foods, and avoiding sugary drinks – the best drinks for young children are their usual milk and water. It’s important that you don’t add sugar to weaning foods and drinks and to only use bottles for water, expressed or formula milk, as using them for juices or sugary drinks can increase tooth decay.
Visit the dentist – it’s free for children!
You can make sure that any signs of tooth decay are spotted early by making sure that you take your child to the dentist for a regular check-up. Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be at around 12 months old. Remember, dental treatment for children is free in the UK until your child is 16 years old and regular appointments may prevent more serious issues in the future. You can find out where your local dentist is here.
In Peterborough we want to make sure every child has the opportunity to have good dental health. At your child’s 12 month Health Visitor check we are issuing toothbrush packs, which include a child’s toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and an information leaflet to help you prevent your child developing tooth decay. You can also pick up an additional pack, once it has run out, from your local Children’s Centre. A healthy child is a happy child so make sure they have a smile to be proud of!