Childrens Dentistry

babyWe believe that a visit to the dentist should be an enjoyable experience and all our dentists enjoy building up a rapport with our young patients. We will work with your child and yourself to encourage, teach and motivate their oral health care, setting good foundations for their future dental health and wellbeing.

Children’s teeth generally start erupting at 6 months of age and we would encourage attending the dentist from this early age. At this first appointment dietary advice and oral hygiene will be discussed. Parents are encouraged to accompany their children in to the surgery, so that treatments can be explained fully before being carried out.

We have a small N.H.S. contract which allows us to only see Children under the age of 18 and to the age of 19 for those in full-time educations (whose parents are registered with us).

Start brushing your children’s teeth as soon as they appear, even if they are still just babies.
Brush for two minutes twice a day, after breakfast and just before bed.
Children’s manual dexterity is not fully developed until they are seven or eight, so help your child brush their teeth, especially at night when they are tired.

If your child is reluctant to brush, try using a reward chart to encourage and get them into the habit.

When choosing a brush, go for one with a small head and soft bristles. Choose a toothpaste that contains 500 to 600ppm (parts per million) of fluoride for under twos and 1,000ppm of fluoride for older children.

Dental cavities form when plaque and sugar build up on the tooth over time. The bacteria in the plaque break down the sugar, producing acid which attacks the tooth tissue. The important thing to remember is it isn’t the quantity but the frequency of sugar intake that counts. Every time we eat something sugary the mouth undergoes an acid attack for 45 minutes, before the saliva has a chance to neutralise it. Teeth can cope with acid attacks up to five times a day, so try to limit children to three meals and two snacks.

Many parents make the mistake of offering their kids so-called healthy snacks which are actually packed with natural but no less damaging sugars. For example, dried fruits such as raisins have a high concentration of sugar and stick to the tooth surface. Other foods with hidden sugars include ketchup and some flavoured crisps. Try to stick to savoury snacks such as cheese, which neutralises acid in the mouth. Other recommended foods include fresh fruit, rice cakes and savoury sandwiches. Try to avoid fizzy drinks and fruit juice, even diluted.

If you can’t cut them out completely, make sure they are only drunk with or immediately after a main meal, when the mouth will already be undergoing an acid attack anyway. Don’t let your youngster keep going back to a cup of juice and sipping it throughout the day. This just prolongs the acid attack on their teeth. The best drinks for children are water or milk from a cup.

As far as toothcare goes, it is best to wean children off drinking milk from bottles or breastfeeding by the age of one. This is because the sucking and pooling effect of drinking milk in this way is a cause of tooth decay.

Never put your child to bed with a bottle of milk. Saliva flow is reduced when we sleep, so the mouth’s defence mechanism isn’t as effective at neutralising the acid formed when sugar in the milk is broken down.

Having a drink of milk before bed from a cup is fine as long as you make sure your child’s teeth are brushed afterwards.

A standard drinking cup is the best option as soon as toddlers are ready. In the meantime, cups with built-in straws are better than anything with a spout when giving them juice, as there is less contact with the teeth.