For many parents, a visit to the dentist is not high on their to-do list. Last week Mintel revealed some worrying gaps in oral hygiene care trends among British parents. Mintel’s research finds just half (53%) of Britain’s parents (with children under 12) take their children regularly and only 63% of mothers and 50% of
fathers ensured their children brush their teeth every day. No wonder that 30% of children in the UK have had tooth decay by the age of five.
We recommend you bring your child to the dentist from about 18 months old. Our aim is make sure all visits to the dentist are fun for your children and it helps by bringing them from an early age. They get to ride in the magic chair, get their teeth polished and walk away with a big smile and a sticker!
The advantage of taking them at an early age is that they have pleasant experiences, we can monitor their and your cleaning of their teeth and give advice on brushing and diet. We look for early signs of disease and apply fluoride varnish where necessary along with prevention advice. We will advise you when is the optimal time to see a specialist orthodontist to correct any crowding.
As soon as the child has teeth you should start brushing your child’s teeth. Get them to choose a children’s toothbrush, so they want to use it.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste 1,000 parts per million (ppm) up to age three.
- Above three then a fluoride level of 1,350-1,500ppm.
- Once they get adult teeth (usually from 6) they can start using an adult toothpaste (around 1500 ppm fluoride).
The level of fluoride can be found on the pack. Parents must brush their child’s teeth for the first few years (sitting your child on your lap and brushing from behind is usually the easiest) and should then supervise until the age of seven.
Brushing should be done for two minutes in the morning and evening and children should be shown how to brush (a circular action that starts and finishes in the same place on each tooth) by looking in the mirror, and be taught to spit rather than rinse as this retains the benefits of fluoride.
Eating any foods that contain sugar, not just sweets, will also cause tooth decay so try to get your children into healthy eating habits.
So how often do you need to take your child to the dentist? Your London dentist will suggest check-ups between three and twelve months.