Children should be brought for dental check up as early as 3 years old. The recommended interval is every 6 months.

The early visits allows them to get used to the smell, sight and sounds of a dental clinic. This will also start their awareness of oral hygiene early. Deciduous tooth does not require much scaling or polishing, however prevention of decay is vital.

Decayed deciduous tooth can be an early sign on trouble.

Deciduous Tooth

The baby’s tooth would have developed in the womb but it will push itself out only by about 6-9 months. By the age of 2 most of the 20 deciduous tooth would have erupted through.

Permanent Tooth

The child´s first permanent tooth would start to grow at the age of 6 onwards. Normally the front tooth will grow first causing the deciduous tooth to fall and show their “toothless front”!

Permanent tooth need to be taken care of from the bginning to avoid early decay and loss of tooth.

Questions & Answers

How should I clean my child's teeth?
Cleaning your child’s teeth should be part of their daily hygiene routine. You may find it easier to stand or sit behind your child, cradling their chin in your hand so you can reach their top and bottom teeth more easily.

When the first teeth start to come through, try using a children’s toothbrush with a small smear of toothpaste. It is important to supervise your child’s brushing until they are at least seven.

Once all the teeth have come through, use a small-headed soft toothbrush in small circular movements and try to concentrate on one section at a time. Don’t forget to brush gently behind the teeth and onto the gums.

If possible make tooth brushing a routine preferably in the morning, and last thing before your child goes to bed. Remember to encourage your child, as praise will often get results!

Should I use fluoride toothpaste?
Fluoride comes from a number of different sources including toothpaste, specific fluoride applications and perhaps the drinking water in your area. These can all help to prevent tooth decay. If you are unsure about using fluoride toothpaste ask your dentist.

The current advice is to use a pea-sized smear of a toothpaste containing at least 1000ppm of fluoride. You can check the level of fluoride on the packaging of the toothpaste.

Children should be supervised up to the age of 7, and you should make sure that they spit out the toothpaste and don’t swallow any if possible.

What sort of brush should children use?
There are many different types of children’s toothbrushes available including:

  • Brightly coloured brushes.
  • Some of which change colour.
  • Those with favourite characters on the handles.
  • Some with timers.
These all encourage children to brush their teeth. The most important point is to use a small-headed toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles, suitable for the age of your child.

What could cause my child to have toothache?
Toothache is painful and upsetting, especially in children, and the main cause is still tooth decay. This is due to too much sugar or acid, too often, in the diet.

Teething is another problem which starts at around 6 months and can continue as all the adult teeth start to come through. If your child needs pain relief, make sure you choose a sugar-free medicine and also remember to check with the doctor or pharmacist that you are being prescribed sugar-free medicines at all times. If the pain continues then contact your dentist for an appointment.

How can I prevent tooth decay in my child?
The main cause of tooth decay is not the amount of sugar or acid in the diet, but how often it is eaten or drunk. The more often your child has sugary or acidic foods or drinks, the more likely they are to have decay. It is therefore important to keep sugary and acidic foods to mealtimes only.

If you want to give your child a snack, try to stick to cheese, vegetables and fruit, but not dried fruit.

It is also worth remembering that some processed baby foods contain quite a lot of sugar. Try checking the list of ingredients: the higher up the list sugar is, the more there is in the product. Sometimes, these are shown as fructose, glucose, lactose or sucrose. Thorough brushing for two minutes, twice a day, particularly last thing at night, will help to prevent tooth decay.

What if my child is very nervous about going to the dentist?
Children can sense fear in their parents, so it is important not to let your child feel that a visit to the dentist is something to be worried about. Try to be supportive if your child needs to have any dental treatment. If you have any fears of your own about going to the dentist, don’t discuss them in front of your child.

Regular visits to the dentist are essential in helping your child to get used to the surroundings and what goes on there. A child can be much more anxious if it is their first visit to a dental practice. Pain and distress can happen at any time and it is important to prepare your child with regular visits.

Acknowledgment: We wish to thank the British Dental Association for their valuable article that we have condensed here for the benefit of readers.