Looking after your children’s teeth.
Looking after your children’s teeth
At Clyde Munro, caring for your children’s teeth is a top priority. We want to see those little grins grow into healthy adult smiles that last a lifetime. That’s why learning excellent oral care habits from an early age is vital, and it’s something we are committed to teaching our young patients across Scotland.
During every child’s dental check-up, we thoroughly assess all areas of the teeth, mouth, and gums to check for any problems. We also show children how to brush their teeth effectively, either by themselves or with the help of an adult, depending on their age.
As your child grows and develops, we help them with their oral care skills, enabling them to take control of their own dental health, under the guidance of a parent or guardian. For example, we introduce you and your child to flossing as soon as they have teeth that touch.
The benefits of fluoride
Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been found to improve our oral health by remineralising the teeth to strengthen the enamel, which helps to fight tooth decay. Fluoride is vital to ensuring your child’s dental health. Too little and they run the risk of developing cavities; too much, and they might develop fluorosis – white chalky spots on the enamel. At Clyde Munro practices across Scotland, our teams will recommend the right amount of fluoride for your child.
We always advise using a fluoride toothpaste specifically designed for children. Your dental team will be able to advise the most appropriate one based on the age of your child. Adult toothpastes contain too much fluoride for children, which is when fluorosis can occur.
Children’s fluoride varnish clinics
Our Clyde Munro dental practices are pleased provide fluoride varnish clinics as part of our work with the Childsmile programme. We offer children a fluoride varnish treatment twice per year from the age of two.
This is where we apply a small amount of dental fluoride varnish to the back teeth, to help slow and prevent tooth decay. It’s a very quick and simple procedure using a soft brush to paint a gel onto your child’s teeth. The gel has a fruity taste and temporarily colours the teeth for up to three days, before it gradually wears off. Most children aren’t bothered by this – in fact they usually think it’s hilarious!
Dietary tips for children’s dental health
Did you know that the foods and drinks we consume can have a direct impact on the health of our teeth and gums? That’s why a healthy diet is important for all of us, especially growing children
Sugar is a dentist’s biggest enemy, reacting with bacteria in the mouth to cause an acid attack. If this happens too often, these acid attacks can lead to tooth decay and cavities. With this in mind, we always suggest being mindful of the amount of sugar in your children’s diet.
When choosing foods and drinks for your children, keep an eye out for ingredients that contain ‘ose’, such as sucrose and fructose. These are just sugars with a different name. If these ingredients appear high in the list of ingredients, it means there is a high amount of sugar in that food or drink.
Sugar is found in many different foods and drinks so it’s difficult to avoid it altogether. But the main thing to be aware of is the amount of time the teeth are exposed to sugar. We recommend eating three meals a day, rather than regular snacking or grazing, as this limits the number of times the teeth come under acid attack. If snacks are required, try to opt for ones that don’t contain any sugar.
That’s not to say your children can’t enjoy their favourite sweet treats. We always suggest consuming them at mealtimes, eating them in moderation and choosing sugar-free or low sugar alternatives where possible. It’s all about balance.
Always wait one hour after eating before brushing your children’s teeth. This allows time for the teeth to naturally remineralise, making it safe for brushing.
How often should children visit the dentist?
In the majority of cases, we recommend that children visit the dentist for a routine dental check-up every 6 months.
That way we can monitor the health of the teeth, gums and mouth, allowing us to spot potential problems in the earliest stages before they become painful or require extensive treatment. In most cases, minor dental problems in children can be treated painlessly and quickly.
All babies should have had their first dental appointment by the age of one. In fact we usually recommend scheduling an appointment when baby’s first tooth appears.
We recommend bringing them in to the dental setting from an early age when you attend for your own appointments, where possible. Then they become accustomed to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental practice, helping to prevent dental fear and anxiety. We can also provide useful advice about infant oral care as this should begin even before the milk teeth are visible.
We are pleased to work with the Childsmile programme to deliver dental care to children across Scotland.
Your health visitor will explain how the process works and refer you to a Childsmile dental practice. You’ll be contacted after your baby is three months old to make your first dental appointment.
The Childsmile initiative is designed to improve the oral health of children across Scotland to provide continuous dental care. The care includes an annual dental check-up, twice-yearly fluoride varnish application from the age of two, and oral health advice such as toothbrushing tips and diet. Additional support is available where it is needed.
Stages of children’s tooth development
Although you can’t see them, babies are born with a full set of 20 teeth hidden below the gums. To maintain healthy teeth for the long term, it is important to keep your baby’s gums clean with a special gum brush. This also helps them get used to the routine of twice daily brushing when the teeth come through.
Your baby’s milk teeth will begin to appear at around six months old. The first baby teeth to erupt will be the upper and lower front teeth. The first back teeth, or primary molars, will come through at around 10 months, followed by the canines at 16 months. The last teeth to emerge will be the large molars right at the back of the mouth, at around two years old.
This teething process is just a guide, some babies will begin teething earlier than this, while others will be later. If you have any questions or concerns about this, your Clyde Munro dentist will be more than happy to provide advice.
Your child will begin to lose their milk teeth around the age of six, which is when their adult teeth will start to come in. This is when the baby teeth will feel wobbly before eventually falling out to make way for the permanent adult teeth. Sometimes children can feel concerned by this process, but your Clyde Munro dentist will be happy to explain what is happening in a manner that helps them to understand it better. We work closely with the tooth fairy to make sure every child enjoys the process of losing their baby teeth for adult teeth!
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