Introducing your child to dentistry
Dental hygiene is important in early years in order to prevent tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. With regular dental check-ups with our team at Sherwood Dental we can treat and prevent the development of dental decay before it causes cavities and toothache.
At Sherwood Dental we believe that children should start to visit our dental practice as young as possible, normally around three years of age. Despite this we encourage our patients who are parents to bring their children along to their dental appointments so they can become familiar with visiting the dentist. While they may be too young for an examination, the visits can help to familiarise them with the surroundings of our practice, the smells, noises and most predominantly they can meet our dental team and become familiar with them.
Your child’s initial examinations will be informal to start, their first appointment will normally consist of:
- A quick examination of their mouth, showing them using our dental mirror
- Looking for any potential signs of decay
- Counting your child’s teeth with them
As your child’s confidence grows when visiting our Sherwood dental practice our dental professionals will then begin to carry out a more thorough examination.
During your child’s check-up our dental professionals will look at the following:
- Which particular teeth have erupted, otherwise known as coming through the gum, on the lower and upper aches
- Examining the correct development of the jaw
- Assessing the soft tissues, including the tongue, cheeks, lips and throat
- Checking for decay or the early stages of cavities in the teeth
As your child gets older and their dental arches further develop we will assess how the two arches bite together in order to check if orthodontics may be required later on. During these appointments we will often discuss and provide advice about:
- Preventive care
- Healthy diet and foods and drinks to avoid
- Brushing or flossing techniques
- Fissure sealants in instances where there are deep pits and grooves in the molars
- Fluoride treatments
Dental care at home
Oral hygiene can start before your child’s first tooth even erupts through the gum – this is normally around six months of age. Before your child’s teeth have erupted our dental professionals will suggest that parents use a clean damp cloth to lightly rub and child their baby’s gums.
Once the teeth have erupted we suggest using a small and soft bristled child’s toothbrush, accompanied by a rice sized amount of children’s tooth paste. It is important to use children’s toothpaste as these products normally contain less fluoride than adult tooth pastes – if you are unsure or concerned about the fluoride content please speak to our dental professionals so we can suggest you the most appropriate toothpaste.
We suggest that your child brushes their teeth twice a day – once in the morning and before bed, cleaning all of the teeth and the gums. You may need to clean your child’s teeth or at least supervise until they have reached around 8 years old. Generally we encourage that you teach your child to spit the toothpaste out but not to rinse with water as this can reduce the effects of fluoride.
We normally suggest that parents do not allow their child to fall asleep with a bottle of milk, formula milk or fruit juice as these drinks can have hidden sugars which if left on the teeth can pool around the teeth as they sleep, potentially causing decay. It can also be advantageous to reduce the amount of sugars in your child’s diet.
If your child’s teeth are prone to developing tooth decay in their baby teeth then our dental professionals may recommend a fluoride treatment as this can help to strengthen the tooth surface. Eventually as the adult teeth erupt through the gum we may advise that a protective layer is bonded to the tooth’s biting surface, which is called a fissure sealant.
Here at our practice our Sherwood Dental dentists and supporting team strive to make children feel comfortable as we help them achieve a healthy smile.