Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Children and Oral Health

There has been so much news of late about the poor oral health of children here in the United Kingdom. As a dentist, this is a serious concern and my team and I spend a lot of time with the parents coming into our surgery, educating them on oral health in children, ensuring their children receive the best level of oral care possible, promoting good oral health now and in the future.

It is so important that children have a regular oral health routine at home from an early age. From the very first tooth that pushes through, brushing should be carried out twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.

What many parents don’t realise is that they can use family fluoride toothpaste on their children, it’s just important to supervise brushing up to the age of seven.

I do recommend that children under three only have a very small amount of toothpaste, you just want to ensure that the teeth are clean and the plaque has been removed. 

Unfortunately many parents don’t realise that even primary or milk teeth do wear and cavities can form, which is exceptionally unpleasant for children.

Many people don’t see the importance of worrying about the milk teeth, as they will fall out in the future and be replaced with the adult teeth. The idea of starting a good oral health routine early on is to get the child into the habit of looking after their teeth and gums, a routine they can carry on into the future, ensuring they enjoy good oral health as adults.Brushing should be carried out for two minutes twice daily. 

The most important time to brush is right before bed and then once more during the course of the day, usually after breakfast before they leave for school. You can make it a fun and positive experience by using an egg timer and setting it for two minutes.This can help the child ensure that they brush for the full two minutes, concentrating on each individual tooth.

With younger children, you will want to guide them.Hold their hand, but let them do the work. This can help them see how to hold the toothbrush and the correct brushing method to promote healthy teeth and gums later in life.

All children should visit the dentist from the time their first tooth pushes through the gum. It is important to ensure you make the dentist appointment a positive experience, reducing the risk of your child suffering from dental anxiety in the future.

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