General Advice for Parents
Should my child use a specific type of brush?
It is important that a child-friendly, small-headed brush is used, with soft round ended filaments. The filaments should be both long and short, in a compact, angled arrangement, while a comfortable handle is also advisable. Children’s brushes, come in a huge variety of colours and styles and are aimed at encouraging them to brush their teeth by using popular tv character endorsements. We supply a range of child specific brushes which we feel are most suitable for your child.
Should my child use a fluoride toothpaste?
According to the Department of Health guidelines a child under the age of 3 years should use toothpaste containing at least 1,000 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. However, children under 3 should not use more than a smear of toothpaste and must not be permitted to eat or lick toothpaste from the tube. Children over 3 (and all adults) should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride content of 1,350-1,500 ppm is advised for maximum protection against tooth decay. Contrary to popular belief and practice rinsing with water after brushing should be discouraged, in favour of spitting out excess toothpaste.
Anglesey - Fluoride
For patients in the Anglesey/North Wales region it should be noted that the water is not fluoridated. It was actually removed from water supplies about 20 years ago. Fluoride works topically and most recent best practice advice is to to apply topical fluoride in the surgery every 3 to 6 months depending on decay activity.
When should my child start to clean their own teeth?
Brushing should start as soon as the first deciduous tooth erupts, but children do need to be helped or certainly supervised with brushing by an adult until at least the age of 7, as before this age most lack the physical ability to brush their teeth correctly. At this age, it would be a good idea for you and your child to consult a hygienist about the best ways of brushing teeth and our in-surgery hygienist Samantha is available for this. Even so it is generally advised that parents should continue to assist their child with brushing at least once per day. Brushing should occur twice daily, once before bed and at one other suitable time of day.
What are the main causes for my child to have toothache?
The main cause of toothache in children is undoubtedly tooth decay. However we put it, this is mainly due to the consumption of too much sugar by the child on a much too frequent basis.
How can tooth decay be prevented in children?
The main cause of tooth decay is the frequency that sugar is consumed, although the actual amount of sugar in the child’s diet is also an important factor. Put simply the consumption of sugary foods and drinks should ideally be restricted to mealtimes and should be limited to a maximum of 4 times per day, but as every parent knows it is hard to restrict sugar in their diet so thorough brushing, twice a day, will help to prevent tooth decay.
How damaging are fizzy drinks for my child’s teeth?
Many scientific studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between the consumption of carbonated drinks and dental decay. Most fizzy or carbonated drinks contain phosphoric acid, carbonic acid and citric acid which causes chemical erosion of the tooth enamel. It is strongly advised that the consumption of carbonated drinks is kept to a minimum to help avoid unwanted and dental treatment and discomfort for your child. Good work now, just as hard work at school will pay dividends in the long term.
What should I do if my child’s first permanent teeth appear to be crooked?
This is not unusual and is not necessarily something that will last. Whereas front teeth, in particular, can come through at unusual or odd angles the muscles within the tongue and lips do usually correct this within around 3 months.
However, if a parent has had a history of crowded teeth, this may be passed on and result in the child also suffering crooked teeth. Orthodontic tooth movement can correct this problem, but this is not generally attempted until all permanent teeth have erupted. Importantly, if you do become worried about how your child’s teeth are emerging then please feel free to contact our team for advice and guidance.
How can I encourage my child not to be nervous about going to the dentist?
It is important not to pass on any fears that you have about the dentist to your children. Furthermore, there is no need to make a fuss about the child visiting the dentist, or to tell them how brave they are, as this will only encourage the impression that there is something to be scared of. Here at Tara Martin Dental surgery we pride ourselves on putting patients at ease, either young or old ! Visiting a dentist can be a daunting prospect so we aim to make this as comfortable and stress free for all members of the family.
Initiating regular visits to the dentist at an early age is vital in helping children to get used to the environment and procedures at the surgery. Unfortunately, pain and distress can occur at any age and it is crucial to have prepared your child beforehand. This will make any necessary treatment run much more smoothly for everyone involved.
What should I do if my child breaks or loses a tooth?
You should contact your dentist straight away, we operate an emergency service for all people, even those not registered with us.
In the event of a tooth being knocked out by an injury to the mouth, take the tooth to your dentist as soon as you can. Store the tooth in fresh milk until you arrive at the dentist, as it may be possible to restore it to its original position. This process is called reimplantation, but this can be hindered if attempts are made to wipe or clean the tooth in any way.
Alternatively, if the tooth is broken, cracked or chipped, you should keep any lost fragments if possible and bring these to the dentist as soon as you can.
How important is it for my child to wear a gum shield while playing contact sports?
Gum shields are an essential precaution for children who play contact sports, as dental injuries are very common and can cause serious pain and disfigurement. Gum shields that can be moulded at home are available from sports shops for under £10 and custom-made gum shields are provided by your dentist. Although the individually made gum shields are considerably more expensive, these are much more comfortable and effective