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Taking care of your child’s teeth

Taking Care of your Child’s Teeth

Ingraining good dental habits in your children will prevent you from having to take too many trips to the dentist later in their lives. It encourages them to value and take care of their own teeth, without you having to stand over them, and leads to good dental hygiene as adults.

Dental Routine for Children

Establishing a regular routine, as with all things child-related, is the key. You can start very early; using a very soft brush to brush your baby’s gums when you bath them, and no doubt they’ll want to have a try themselves as time goes on. Supervise them closely, and brushing then becomes established as part of the washing routine in your child’s mind.

Caring for Milk Teeth

Once the first milk teeth begin to appear (usually around 6 months old, but all children vary) you can use a soft brush with some tap water.

Ask your dentist at Reva Dental about using children’s toothpaste; some schools of thought suggest not using toothpaste at all until the child is over two years of age.

Once your child does start using toothpaste, be it a tiny amount of the family brand or a special child’s toothpaste, it should have an appropriate fluoride content.  The fluoride element is important; it should be at least 1,000ppm (parts per million) to be effective in the prevention of tooth decay.

Having their very own toothbrush (child-size, with soft bristles) allows the child to feel accountable for brushing their own teeth; something they will enjoy doing themselves if you encourage them.

Effective Method of Brushing

Watch over them as they brush; make sure you control the amount of toothpaste that goes on the brush, and brush the teeth for at least two minutes before bed and at some other point in the day.

Guide your child’s movements to ensure they brush properly, watching themselves in a mirror helps to brush up and down. They should spit out the excess toothpaste from their mouth but don’t rinse with lots of water. Keep your child on front of the sink until they’re finished brushing, as running around with a toothbrush in their mouth is unsafe.

You should take your little boy or girl to the dentist by age two, so that they are comfortable in the environment and get to know your dentist. Any early problems can be identified quickly, so preventative care can start as soon as required.

Fissure Sealants

A Fissure Sealant can be done once your child’s permanent teeth have started to come through (usually at the age of about six or seven) to protect them from decay.

It involves using a special plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to keep food particles and germs out of the teeth grooves.

Dental sealant can last from 5-10 years. The very thin plastic resin bonds well to the surface of the tooth, eliminating any fissures by filling them before cracks set in.

Call Reva Dental on 056 7763786 to book your appointment.

How do I help my Children care for their teeth

At Reva Dental we treat lots of children and we always encourage preventive care for our young patients. Teaching your child proper oral care at a young age is an investment in his or her health that will pay lifelong dividends. The best way to start is by setting an example; taking good care of your own teeth sends a message that oral health is something to be valued. And anything that makes taking care of teeth fun, like brushing along with your child or letting them choose their own toothbrush, encourages proper oral care.

To help your children protect their teeth and gums and greatly reduce their risk of getting cavities, teach them to follow these simple steps:

  1. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque – the sticky film on teeth that’s the main cause of tooth decay
  2. Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth and under the gumline, before it can harden into tartar. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a professional cleaning
  3. Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary foods, which produce plaque acids that cause tooth decay. When you do eat these foods, try to eat them with your meal instead of as a snack-the extra saliva produced during a meal helps rinse food from the mouth.
  4. Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
  5. Make sure that your child’s drinking water is fluoridated. The mains water supply in Ireland is generally fluoridated (0-8 1 parts per million). However in any cases where your child is not drinking fluoridated water (e.g. bottled water) your dentist or paediatrician may prescribe daily fluoride supplements.
  6. Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups.

What Brushing Techniques Can I Show My Child?

You may want to supervise your children until they get the hang of these simple steps:

  1. Use a pea-sized dab of a good fluoride toothpaste. Take care that your child does not swallow the toothpaste.
  2. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush the inside surface of each tooth first, where plaque may accumulate most. Brush gently back and forth.
  3. Clean the outer surfaces of each tooth. Angle the brush along the outer gumline. Gently brush back and forth.
  4. Brush the chewing surface of each tooth. Gently brush back and forth.
  5. Use the tip of the brush to clean behind each front tooth, both top and bottom.
  6. It’s always fun to brush the tongue!

When Should My Child Begin Flossing?

Because flossing removes food particles and plaque between teeth that brushing misses, you should floss for your children beginning at age 4. By the time they reach age 8, most kids can begin flossing for themselves.

How Important is Diet to My Child’s Oral Health?

A balanced diet is necessary for your child to develop strong, decay-resistant teeth. In addition to a full range of vitamins and minerals, a child’s diet should include plenty of calcium, phosphorous, and proper levels of fluoride.

If fluoride is your child’s greatest protection against tooth decay, then frequent snacking may be the biggest enemy. The sugars and starches found in many foods and snacks like cookies, candies, dried fruit, soft drinks, pretzels and potato chips combine with plaque on teeth to create acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel and may lead to cavities.

Each “plaque attack” can last up to 20 minutes after a meal or snack has been finished. Even a little nibble can create plaque acids. So it’s best to limit snacking between meals.

What Should I Do if My Child Chips, Breaks or Knocks Out a Tooth?

With any injury to your child’s mouth, you should contact your dentist immediately. The dentist will want to examine the affected area and determine appropriate treatment.

If your child is in pain from a broken, cracked or chipped tooth, you should visit the dentist immediately. If possible, keep any part of the tooth that has broken off and take this with you to the dentist.

If a tooth is completely knocked out of the mouth by an injury, take the tooth to your dentist as soon as possible. Handle the tooth as little as possible — do not wipe or otherwise clean the tooth. Store the tooth in water or milk until you get to a dentist. It may be possible for the tooth to be placed back into your child’s mouth, a procedure called reimplantation.

Moe information on children’s oral health is available here

Ask your dentist’s advice on looking after your children’s teeth; you can call Reva Dental on (056) 7763786 to schedule an appointment; see