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Dentistry & Children

Your child’s first smile is a milestone in their life, remember sitting for hours trying to coax that first smile from them with a camera at the ready or perhaps you remember their first tooth after many endless nights and tubes of teething gel? These moments are precious and at Love Dental we want to ensure your children have the best chance to maintain their teeth and oral health from an early age so those moments and big smiles can be captured throughout their lifetime.

It’s more important to look after teeth when still young rather than try to correct years of neglect in later life. If your child has positive dental experiences and cares for their teeth from an early age they are likely to continue doing so. This is where you come in, as parents you understand the importance of this and together we can teach children of all ages about their teeth, their gums and their general dental wellbeing. With gum disease now being linked to diabetes, stroke and heart disease, it’s vital that good oral health is taken seriously from childhood into adult life.

Infants

The question normally asked of dentists is when should I bring my child to the dentist or when should I start brushing my child’s teeth? Even before teething starts there are cleaning methods you should adopt to condition their little mouths such as cleaning gums after bottle feeds. There are some great products that can be used before their teeth are through such as oral wipes. Ask your dentist for what they recommend as they may hold stock or order it in for you.

As soon as the teeth start to come through introduce a soft baby brush on a morning and evening with just a small amount of child friendly toothpaste. Make sure at this stage you continue to use the wipes as well for the gummy areas.

Ideally you should start taking your child to the dentist age one – take them with you when you go for your visit and it won’t cost a thing! Your dentist then has a head start on preventing any problems before they happen which is better for your child than corrective action.

There are two points to look out for in your children’s first couple of teeth, not just their flashing grins!

  • Yellowing – Can suggest a build-up of plaque – get those baby brushes out and have your dentist take a look!
  • Chalky White/Patchy White – This could mean a lack of or poor enamel which means potential weakness…again get your dentist to have a closer look.

 

Junior

This is when those little teeth start to wobble and with any luck fall out due to an adult tooth coming through in its place. You must pay particular attention at this stage because wobbly teeth can be extremely uncomfortable when brushing. More often than not you can rely on your ever growing little ones to play with their loose teeth until they come out, before they cause any problems.  If they are a little squeamish they might ask you or their dentist for a bit of help in removing it (plus they will get a special tooth fairy pouch and sticker).

In other instances the milk teeth are stuck fast and this causes the adult teeth to push up behind the milk teeth.  This should be looked at by the dentist who will either suggest removing the milk tooth or he may let nature take its course if he feels the correction will happen on its own.  If your child is still sucking their thumb or anything else for comfort or otherwise, you should try to alter their habit as this can lead to displacement of teeth.

If you think that the adult teeth should be through, the milk tooth has disappeared and there is a gap which has been there for more than 6 months, then your dentist can provide an x-ray to make sure they are there but just haven’t popped through yet.  Some people have fewer than they should, just like some adults don’t have wisdom teeth!

During the teething of the adult teeth plaque is more likely to develop due to the discomfort when brushing and also the larger the teeth the smaller the gaps. Make sure your junior is brushing their teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes.

NOTE: They are old enough now…no excuses.  Check out our DenShield Pupil for 8 to 16 year olds.

Teen

So…we hope you are reading this because you are a teen and you’re interested in maintaining your dental health after your parents have done such a good job.

You should still be brushing twice daily, flossing daily and attending your dentist on a regular basis.

It is at this age when all of us start to really look after our teeth and ask the following questions: are they white enough, straight enough and generally healthy!  Anything that bothers you can be looked at by your dentist who will suggest how best to improve your wellbeing and happiness.

The most important thing is to keep brushing and do it properly!  You are well into the age where you can develop gum disease which causes red gums, bleeding whilst brushing and of course bad breath!  Keep on top of your dental visits and help us help you to stay healthy and happy.

The Parent Zone

Most people don’t know that your responsibility for oral hygiene in your child starts even before they are born! It is extremely important for ‘mums to be’ to have good hygiene and no teeth needing repair. For those of you who aren’t dentist regulars’, going when pregnant is a must.

As a parent you have a key role in helping your children to develop a proper hygiene routine for their little mouths. Poor diets, regular snacking and poor tooth-brushing during their first years can be related to tooth decay. Although some see the baby teeth (primary dentition) as only temporary before the adult teeth come through, the baby teeth are actually really important. Not only do they prepare the mouth for adult teeth so that they are spaced and aligned correctly, they are also essential to chewing and learning to talk. The problems developed at a young age with our baby teeth tend to go through life with us, the damage has often been done.

Your child’s first visit to us will focus on information about eating habits, the risk factors for dental disease and general oral healthcare.

The Parent Rule Book

As a parent you may either love going to the dentist or hate it, whether it’s down to fear, inconvenience, bad experiences or how you were brought up to feel. Unless you love going to the dentist, don’t let those feelings rub off onto your little ones.

You should never bribe your child or threaten punishment when trying to persuade them to go if they don’t like it. You always have to think carefully about how you say things…we have some Do’s and Don’ts below and have added how your child might interpret some of the statements you make.

Please:

  • Tell your little one they are going to the dentist
    • Childs interpretation – Oh OK, not been before but let’s go / Cool I’ve been there before, they have toys and really nice people there.
  • Tell them that the dentist will count their teeth
    • Childs interpretation – Oooo I wonder how many teeth I have, how many do I need to make a full set?
  • Tell them the dentist will show them how to brush their teeth just like mammy and daddy do.
    • Childs interpretation – I’ll be a proper grown up if I can just brush my teeth properly.
  • Tell them they may have a special picture of their teeth taken.
    • Childs interpretation – wow I must be important.
  • Do not tell them you are taking them to the park just to get them in the car.
    • Childs interpretation – There’s the park, stop the car we’re here…wait a minute, what’s this place, why is there an odd looking seat…I want to go to the park. You lied to me – why would you lie?
  • Do not tell them it’s OK to be frightened because you were too when you were little.
    • Childs interpretation – That’s it, I’m definitely not going if my brave Mam/Dad were frightened it must be bad!
  • Do not tell them not to be scared.
    • Childs interpretation- Why would you tell me not to be scared if there is nothing to be scared of…you must be scared…nope, definitely not going!
  • Do not tell them it won’t hurt.
    • Childs interpretation- Why would you tell me it wasn’t going to hurt, it must definitely hurt…you must have been hurt before. Definitely not going.

If you are nervous about going to the dentist yourself…it is best all round that you say nothing.