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Children’s dental care

Helping you care for your children’s teeth

Laying the foundations for good nutrition and oral health from the start is one of the most important things you can ever do for your child. If you develop routines that will help protect your child from tooth decay and other oral health problems, your child will benefit for life.

Frequently asked questions

At Improve Your Smile, we’re often asked questions by parents. We’ve put together a list with answers that may be helpful to you for your children.

1. At what age should my child be able to look after their own teeth?

From the age of 7, children can start using adult toothpaste. Choose one containing 1300–1500 ppm fluoride to help protect the delicate enamel. At 8 years old, they should have the dexterity to brush their own teeth, but you will still need to monitor how well they are doing it. A visit to a dental hygienist will ensure your child learns the best technique.

2. How bad is sugar for my child’s teeth?

When we eat sugars, it will take the saliva a minimum of 30 minutes to neutralize the acidity created by decay-producing bacteria. Frequent sugary snacks can mean your child’s mouth is always an acid environment, increasing the chances of tooth decay.

3. How can I prevent cavities?

As well as sensible eating and effective brushing, we recommend dental sealants and fluoride applications to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants can prevent food from getting stuck in the tiny grooves on the chewing surfaces, and topical fluoride will strengthen the enamel against decay. These are applied by a dental professional.

4. Why should my child visit a hygienist?

Good brushing habits are essential to keeping teeth healthy and pain-free. Children are taught how to swim, dance, play musical instruments, sports and many other exciting things but in many cases, not how to brush their teeth! Understanding how to look after your oral health is an invaluable lifeskill. £100 a year will buy your child two appointments with the hygienist – one of the best investments you could ever make for your child. Learn more about how our hygienists can help you and your family.

5. My child’s new teeth appear to be growing behind the old ones. Should the old ones be removed?

Adult teeth sometimes do grow alongside the baby teeth, as some baby teeth can be tough to shed! This can pose difficulties with eating, and may impact on the child’s oral hygiene. Depending on the condition of the baby teeth in question, we may recommend leaving them to fall out naturally, or we may advise their removal.

6. My child is afraid that visits to the dentist might hurt. How should I deal with this?

Always be positive about visits to the dentist. These days, good dentistry is largely pain-free, and if your child’s teeth are well looked after, they will probably never need to experience any pain at the dentist’s. If your child seems fearful, encourage him or her to talk about why. Anxiety on the part of a parent or trusted adult is easily conveyed to a child. Might an older relative have been talking about what it was like when methods were rather different?

7. My child’s new teeth look yellow. Do they need more cleaning?

Adult (permanent) teeth have a larger content of dentine, which is the layer under the enamel that gives teeth their yellowish colour. It is therefore normal for them to appear less white than the baby teeth.

8. My child’s new teeth are not straight. Should I be worried?

When adult teeth first appear, they sometimes seem out of alignment. Often they will straighten themselves but if they don’t, they will need some extra help – normally in the form of braces.

9. How often should my child see the dentist?

Commonly we see children every 6 months, however this depends on their risk factor for dental disease. The dentist will make recommendations on an individual basis.

Book a dentist or hygienist appointment for your child

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