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Children’s Teeth - Essential Tips

2016 10 10
Children have their own set of unique needs when it comes to teeth. It’s vital to engage with and understand the specifics of how to handle these, so here’s our short guide to the subject….

How early should I take my children to the dentist?

You should take your children to the dentist as soon as you can, then return as regularly as your dental practice recommends. The process will acclimatise your child to seeing the dentist, and benefit them in future as their dental needs change. (Source: OHF).

From the age of 3, the dentist can offer help in the form of fluoride varnish, which can help to protect their teeth. Once your child’s permanent back teeth have started to appear, your dentist can suggest fissure sealant, a type of coating that protects against tooth decay, which can last for 5 to 10 years. (Source: NHS Choices)

When will my children’s teeth come through?

Children typically get their ‘milk’ teeth initially from 6 months, and all of their baby teeth should have appeared by their second birthday.

The first full ‘adult’ teeth should appear at between 6 and 7 years, beginning at the back with the molars. The whole process of replacing juvenile teeth with adult teeth should be completed at around 13 years old. ‘Wisdom’ teeth can appear between the ages of 18 and 25, depending on individual growth rates. (Source: OHF).

When should I start brushing?

You should begin brushing your children’s teeth at around 6 months, when their teeth first begin to emerge. It’s best to use fluoride toothpaste, to protect their teeth from tooth decay.

Under the age of 3, a smear of toothpaste is enough. Between 3 to 6, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Try to make sure your child doesn’t eat it instead and lose all the benefits. While not harmful, some toothpastes are flavoured and a big temptation! (Source: NHS Choices).

How often should I brush my child’s teeth?

Twice a day for 2 minutes is recommended, including once before bedtime. You should help your child with brushing up to the age of 7 or 8 by either checking their efforts or doing it yourself. When cleaning their mouth afterwards, make sure they spit out excess toothpaste rather than rinsing with water, as this will remove the fluoride and prevent it protecting their teeth. (Source: NHS Choices). For practical advice on technique, read our blog on ‘How To Brush Your Teeth’.

How can I help my children learn how to brush properly?

There are various things you can do to help them brush effectively, including guiding their hand as they brush. Using a mirror can help them to see what they are doing and where the brush is touching their teeth. A countdown timer or egg timer can help to make sure that they brush for the full 2 minutes, turning it into a fun game. (Source: NHS Choices)