Keeping your child’s teeth healthy and cavity free is a concern for most parents, especially if you’ve got reluctant brushers! We asked Dr Janet Clarke, a spokesperson for the British Dental Association, who is interested in children’s dentistry, for her top tips on how to keep your children’s teeth in tip top condition.
Or to check that a dental professional is registered and able to practise in the UK, you can search the General Dental Council on www.gdc-uk.org.
1. Don’t breast or bottle feed your baby milk during the night beyond a year. Many parents don’t realise that breast milk contains sugar. Remember your toddler has less saliva at night to combat bacteria.
2. Take your baby/child to the dentist from a young age so they can get used to the sights and sounds of a dental surgery.
3. Ensure your child uses a minimum of 1,000 ppm fluoride toothpaste and spit don’t rinse after brushing.
4. Look out for their first permanent molars at around 6 (at the same time as first front baby teeth fall out) as they come in behind the baby molars without any teeth being lost so are easy to miss when cleaning.
5. Supervise tooth brushing until about 9 or 10 years.
6. Only give juice or fizzy drinks with main meals and use a straw to protect teeth. Stick to milk or water at other times.
7. Don’t brush teeth for 30 mins after juice or fizzy drinks as it increases the acid erosion on teeth.
8. Keep sweets for after meals to reduce frequency of eating sugary foods (as the extra saliva created by chewing will help protect teeth.) Try not to eat between meals.
9. Make sure your child wears a mouth guard during contact sport like rugby or hockey.
10. Remember that you can always get another dentist’s opinion of you are worried. Ask friends for their recommendations of child-friendly dentists.
Image of Dr Janet Clarke and of child visiting the dentist are from the British Dental Association.