FAQs about your Child’s Oral Health

05 Sep 2022

FAQs about your Child’s Oral Health

In this month’s blog we look at some commonly asked questions which can help you to look after your child’s teeth from the moment they first appear.

When should I first take my child to the dentist?

Take your child to the dentist when their first milk teeth appear or by the age of 1 year old whichever is soonest. This is so they become familiar with the environment and get to know the dentist. The dentist can help prevent decay and identify any oral health problems at an early stage. Just getting your child to open their mouth for the dentist to take a look is useful practice for the future.

When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth appears. It is important to use a fluoride toothpaste, as this helps to prevent and control tooth decay. For children less than 3 years use a fluoride toothpaste containing no less than 1000ppm fluoride. For children over 3 years use a fluoride toothpaste containing more than 1000ppm fluoride.

My child will not spit out the toothpaste after using it, should we stop using it?
Six Month Smiles
If your child does not spit out after brushing, do not worry – do not stop using it. Children up to three years of age should use no more than a smear of toothpaste (a thin film of paste covering less than three quarters of the brush). After brushing always encourage your child to spit.

Children aged three to six years should use only a pea-sized blob of toothpaste. Discourage your child from licking the toothpaste off the brush, however if this happens do not then apply more toothpaste to the brush, just encourage them to continue brushing.

I struggle to get my child to brush their teeth, how can I encourage them?

Make brushing as much fun as possible. Use music or tooth brushing apps or get them brushing while having a bath. You can also use a 2-minute egg timer so they can time themselves brushing.

Shopping for a toothbrush with your child and choosing it together may make it more fun for them. Having one toothbrush for them to chew and one for you to brush their teeth (one to do one to chew) can sometimes make it easier.

Will a dummy or thumb sucking harm my child’s teeth?
Six Month Smiles
No, but they will encourage an open bite, which is when teeth move to make space for the dummy or thumb. They may also affect speech development. That is why you should avoid using dummies after your child reaches 12 months old.

Thumb sucking will not cause permanent problems as long as the habit stops by the time your child gets their second teeth, but it can be a hard habit to break.

Should I get my child to rinse with water after brushing?

No, we advise ‘Spit Don’t Rinse.’ Rinsing with lots of water after brushing should be discouraged – spitting out excess toothpaste is preferable.

Is sugar free juice ok to give to my child?
Six Month Smiles
The safest drinks to give your child are milk and water. Some soft drinks contain sweeteners, which are not suitable for young children – ask your dental team if you are not sure. Many flavoured drinks are also acidic which can have damaging effects to teeth. It is always best to keep all flavoured drinks to mealtimes only.

Do you want to find out more about building dental habits that can last a lifetime? Give us a call today on 020 7352 7049 to schedule your child’s appointment.