At Alan Wilson Dentistry we cater for all ages from young to old. We welcome families to join and are currently offering free check-ups for children under 12yr who attend with a registered adult. We are always asked advice on children’s oral health, so here are some tips and tricks on looking after your kids’ teeth and some of our most commonly asked questions answered:
When should I bring my child to the dentist?
Once the first baby teeth appear in the first year, parents should brush their baby’s teeth twice a day with baby/child fluoride toothpaste – this may involve your baby chewing more than brushing but don’t despair as this is normal. You should be encouraged that you are introducing a routine that they will establish and use daily for the rest of their lives. We recommend bringing them along to the dentist at around the age of 1. As you can imagine, not a lot of 1 year olds will let us have a proper look round their mouth and teeth, but it’s still good to bring them in so they get used to us and the dental environment.
What type of toothbrush should I use?
We recommend a toothbrush with soft bristles as you anything too firm as these can damage children’s gums if they brush to hard. You should replace yours and your childrens toothbrush approximately every 3 months or sooner if the bristles look bent or splayed – bent bristles won’t clean as well! It’s up to you whether your child uses an electric or manual toothbrush, but we like to encourage use of a manual tooth brush to help improve technique and dexterity.
What type of toothpaste is best?
Kids should use a pea sized amount of toothpaste on their brush – we recommend a fluoride toothpaste relevant to your child’s age. After brushing, your child should spit out the toothpaste but not rinse with water as this keeps a strengthening layer of fluoride on their teeth.
Should I let my child brush themselves or should I be doing it for them?
It is best practice for Mum or Dad to oversee brushing of teeth. We recommend letting your kid’s brush their teeth first on their own to help them improve the technique and get a feel for the length of time they should be spending brushing and then Mum or Dad go around again and make sure they are squeaky clean! As your child gets closer to 8 years old you can start letting them brush more independently but some parental supervision is still needed!
Here at the practice we sell a great product to help kids’ with brushing their teeth – ask our dentist or hygienist about this at your next visit!
How can we prevent tooth decay?
• Minimizing the amount of sugary food in the diet. Ideally, we need to encourage kids to eat well at mealtimes and avoid snacking between meals. It’s inevitable that there will be sugar intake during mealtimes but the key is to limit the frequency with which kids teeth are exposed to sugar. Always remember that even fruit will have natural sugars so although it’s important to eat these healthy foods, we should avoid grazing on them throughout the day.
• Brushing teeth for two minutes twice a day – after breakfast and last thing at night.
• Drinking water throughout the day instead of juices.
• Coming to see the dentist twice a year to check for any early signs of problems with the developing teeth and gums – we may advise fissures sealants on the adult teeth as they come through to minimize the chance of decay!
• Come to see our lovely hygienist for toothbrushing tips at toothbrushing school and to make sure we’re cleaning correctly.
What are fissure sealants?
At Alan Wilson Dentistry, we might recommend your child to have some fissure sealants done. Children develop their new back teeth around 6 years of age and quite often they have very deep grooves and fissures on the top biting surface of them and this is the most common area for decay to form as the food can stagnate here. Fissures sealants are quick and simple to do – we simply brush the top surface of the tooth to clean it and apply a resin over the biting surface. By doing this it prevents food from packing in the grooves and helps prevent cavities! If your child needs fissures sealants and is feeling a little anxious you can assure them it really is over before they know it, and we can always put their favourite film or TV programme our ceiling TV to distract them!