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Top 10 tips for looking after babies’ and toddler’s teeth at home
All parents love to look after their children’s teeth. Setting a regular brushing routine and taking young children to the dentist for a check-up is a way to create life-long positive habits and routines which will last a lifetime. Dentists are working through their patients lists safely and within government guidelines and prioritising those with immediate needs. Some families may not have been able to get their children in for a regular general check-up. In these cases you can maintain good teeth hygiene for your children at home.
Mayur N Pandya, Dentist and Chief Clinical Officer of Together Dental said; “Dental decay is the leading cause of general anaesthesia admission in the UK. Decay in children’s teeth is the biggest concern for dentists (mitigated with diet and fluoride), followed by queries around brushing, eruption of teeth and tooth alignment. Creating a positive twice daily brushing routine for children is crucial for setting the right habits for the rest of your child’s life. Increased and improved regular brushing of teeth is a positive for the whole family.”
Ages 2 and 8 are the highest risk of trauma to front teeth (beginning walking, and then beginning bike or scooter or a vehicle of some sort!) so we need to take care!
Our top 10 tips that we recommend for toddler and baby teeth are;
- Drop night feeds
When teeth erupt (after 12 months or so), the critical thing is to drop the night feed (with health visitor consultation) to reduce the lactose being delivered to the oral cavity and the surfaces of teeth at night when salivary flow rate is reduced. Milk contains 7% lactose which is a fermentable sugar and can lead to bottle caries (google this to see pics!)
Dummies should never have any sugary substance put on them to pacify the child, neither should Ribenas and Capri Suns or all the other sugary drinks be given in a bottle (or for that matter, at all). Dummy/finger sucking/thumb sucking should be weaned off by age 2, as should the use of bottles. By 12-15 months, begin encouraging the use of sippy cup
- Choose the right toothpaste
Children aged 0-2 should be using a toothpaste with 1000ppm fluoride and the amount should be minimal. Aquafresh milk teeth is also good https://www.aquafresh.com/
Children above 3, can use Colgate’s 3-6 with 1450ppm. https://www.colgate.com/en-us
Be careful with yoghurts – they can have added and hidden sugars. No sugary or main meals should be eaten within 1 hour before bedtime. If parents are unsure then they can keep a diet sheet for their children and discuss with dentist. Water should be given at night time if any liquid is given at all
- Eruption patterns
Baby teeth and permanent teeth follow a set order of development. You should follow eruption patterns and if a child is late by more than 6 months, then consult a dentist https://www.together.dental/blog/your-childs-teeth/
- Choose a small head toothbrush
Brush baby have a good brush (https://brushbaby.com/), however any small head toothbrush will help
- Visit the dentist
Please visit your dentist regularly as soon as teeth erupt to get your child used to visiting the dentist. If this is difficult during Covid19 dentists are open and operating within government guidelines please do call to schedule an appointment for a check-up in advance. Although there is less capacity, appointments are still available
When you brush your own teeth spend 2-3 minutes to stand behind your child in the mirror to clean teeth and encourage their interaction and learning through watching you do yours
- Baby finger brush
Using a Bickiepeg for small babies is ideal: https://www.bickiepegs.com/
- Choose a good teething device
Sophie the giraffe is a good toy for teething, but as are other teething rings and devices. Please do keep it clean.
For more information about your children’s teeth (aged 6+) click here.