9 Things Every Parent Should Know About Kids Teeth
Looking after your children’s teeth at home is easy if you follow these few handy tips between dental visits.
1. Brush kids teeth for them before the age of 8.
Before this age kids lack the dexterity to brush their teeth properly. So get over their shoulder and make it happen! When kids are very young they tend to swallow toothpaste so it is best to buy a “childrens toothpaste” for them to use.
2. Spit but Do Not Rinse with Water
As soon as kids are aware enough to not swallow toothpaste (around 4 generally) get them in the habit of spitting out all their toothpaste but NOT rinsing with water. The minerals in toothpaste have a much greater chance to “soak” into the teeth if not immediately rinsed off with water.
3. After 6 years use adult tooth paste
At the age of 6 kids get their first adult teeth so the extra protection of a “full strength” adult toothpaste is needed.
We recommend Colgate Total for its antibacterial effect.
4. Follow up sugar acid with water or brushing
Sugary foods and drinks (and even fruit) when left in the mouth produce acid which attacks the teeth. To minimise the effect of this try and follow up each sugary snack with a drink of water or brushing.
5. Bundle the sugars.
Grouping daily sugary snacks into one sitting (eg morning/ afternoon tea) and following up with a glass of water or brushing greatly reduces the length of time that sugar acid has to attack the teeth.
That way the childs mouth will be acidic for 5 minutes instead of 5 hours!
6. Get a custom fitted mouthguard
Its essential that the risks to teeth of contact sports are reduced with a suction fitted, custom made mouthguard.
Injuries obtained to children’s teeth due to loose generic mouthgards or not wearing one can affect their smile for life so its worth investing in one.
7. School Dentists
School dentists are often not Dentists, but “dental therapists” not fully trained in all aspects of Dentistry. We invite all parents to our clinic for a 2nd opinion before any work is completed on their children.
The clinical opinions and skill level of our career private practice dentists, who are committed to your childs life long care, can vary greatly from those found in this government setting.
8. Dental Visits between 1 and 5
Parents often feel that the need for a child to visit the dentist between the ages of 1-5 is not that great as they are “just” baby teeth are “just going to fall out anyway.” This is a mistake as a strong healthy set of baby teeth has many long term benefits for the child and parents, including:
Forming a framework for the adult teeth to grow through which help minimise teeth crowding and the need or longevity of braces later on.
Creates a positive dental experience for children who come to enjoy going to the dentist, looking after their teeth and having a confident smile.
Early visits can help inform parents of the best techniques for their child’s unique needs. This generic advice is true in most cases it can vary greatly with things like medication and diet.
A most common inquiry among parents is at what age should children get braces. The simplest answer is that braces work best during a child’s growth spurt because as the face grows things can be guided into place. On average this is 11-14 for girls and 12-15 for boys.
Some children however need more comprehensive work completed before this age to e.g align the bite. So we often refer children from routine 6 monthly checkups as young as 10 years old for an orthodontic assessment.