Children's half-term dental appointments in Whitchurch
27th October 2019
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Whether your child is a few hours old or a teenager, you’ll worry about whether you’re doing the right things for them. One of the easier things we can all do to set our kids up for their future is to help them have healthy teeth. So here are some tips to help children’s teeth last a lifetime.
During an appointment, your child’s dentist will systematically assess your child’s mouth. Parents are encouraged to establish a rigorous twice daily oral hygiene routine at home, enable a healthy diet and book regular visits to the dentist for check-ups. And remember, it’s never too early to bring your child to the dentist – babies are welcome any time, but should definitely visit the dentist before their first birthday.
If you’re asking this question, then it shows that you’re paying good attention to your child’s oral hygiene routine already!
Fluoride is proven to help in the fight against tooth decay. The topical application of fluoride is usually through toothpaste and products. Unless a higher quantity of fluoride is recommended by your dentist, then use these measures:
Read the label on the toothpaste tube to check the ppm (parts per million). Supervise children as they brush. To make sure the fluoride can do it’s work, remind children to spit, not rinse.
Fluoride therapy is an important part of caring for children’s teeth. It is found in some tap water, but is usually applied topically with paste, hygiene products and fluoride varnish.
Unfortunately, the most common cause of toothache is a tooth infection. Dental decay begins on the outside surface of the tooth enamel. As the caries develop the pain increases too. Dental abscesses from bacterial infection also cause significant pain.
If your child’s teeth are even a little sensitive to hot or cold things, it’s a sign the protective tooth enamel has weakened. If the tooth’s not treated the pain will increase.
With older teenagers, wisdom teeth, the very back molars, can cause pain. Pressure on the soft tissue or other teeth can lead to pain and infection which, if left untreated, can cause sudden inflammation.
Most dental surgeries keep spaces in the daily schedule to see emergency patients. Call as early in the morning as you can, as there’s more chance of securing an appointment.
Remember: good oral hygiene prevents 95% of tooth decay.
At all ages children are aware of their teeth, and can feel self-conscious about how they look. Whether it’s losing their front teeth at school, or worrying about how they look in selfies, teeth alter appearance dramatically.
Prepare young children for tooth loss by talking to them about their teeth, and the change from their baby teeth to permanent teeth. Make sure your child knows the tooth will fall out, and that it will bleed. Reassure them that it’s nothing to worry about, that teacher will help and the tooth fairy will come! It’s also a great opportunity to reinforce the need for good tooth brushing techniques – a time to remind children they want to keep their teeth forever.
For teenagers, whether male or female, the way their teeth look can make a huge difference to their confidence. It’s a time when some teens may try out online solutions to whiten their teeth, with damaging results. Or it may impact on their self-esteem or emotional health. Dental problems can even impact on exam results. If you notice your teen never smiles, is reluctant to talk, or doesn’t look up much, there may be a dental reason. If your teen’s not comfortable telling you about the problem, then make an appointment with the dentist, to find out what can be done. Chances are your child with open up to the dentist, and together find solutions for whatever it is that’s worrying. It may be crooked teeth, discolouration, a chip or unattractive gums. A dentist can offer reassurance as well as help.
Children should always be encouraged to look after their teeth, and that’s part of education in school.
In primary school, children are encouraged to clean their teeth during the day. But when children are cleaning their teeth at school, the focus is on building a habit and learning about why it’s important. To make sure your child’s teeth are properly cleaned, it’s best to do it at home.
Older children, especially teens may want to brush their teeth at school, but feel self-conscious of taking up space in the crowded school toilets. So long as they brush first thing in the morning, and last thing before they go to bed, then that will be enough. If they brush when they get back from school too, then that’s even better.
Teens who worry about the effects of braces or bad breath, may want to carry a small bottle of mouthwash for a quick rinse. Encourage them to drink lots of water too.
Yes! Special care is essential.
The orthodontist will explain how important it is to look after teeth with fixed braces. Although we want straight teeth, we also want to make sure that they are not damaged in any way.
Some teens opt to use clear braces, such as Invisalign, because they can be removed for eating and brushing. If your teen wants to have straighter teeth, then a consultation with a dentist will help.
Although mouthwash is handy, it is only an addition to a good brushing routine, not a replacement
Mouthwash is not usually recommended for children under 6 years old, although in some cases the dentist may suggest it. Older children should be supervised to make sure they spit mouthwash out properly, and teenagers can be left to use mouthwash responsibly.
Mouthwash can help teens feel more confident about their breath, and provide valuable fluoride to help keep tooth enamel strong. But it shouldn’t be used to mask bad breath. In most cases the cause of bad breath can be found in the mouth, so ask the dentist for advice.
To guard against a chipped, broken or knocked out tooth, invest in a good mouth guard. For contact sports like rugby or boxing, wearing a gum shield, (sports guard or mouth guard) is usual. However there are also other sports that can impact, literally, on a child’s teeth. An elbow, a racket or a ball in the face, can break or knock out a tooth. Gum shields are most effective when they are custom-made by your dentist.
A chip or break is not urgent, so long as there isn’t uncontrollable swelling or bleeding from the accident.
If a child knocks a secondary (permanent) tooth out it should be treated as a dental emergency. The sooner the tooth can be replanted, the more chance there is of it taking. Therefore, it’s good to know the following steps if you supervise children at play:
We hear a lot about having a healthy diet these days to battle rising levels of diagnosed obesity and type 2 diabetes. At home, parents can monitor and control what children eat. As children gain more freedom, they also take control of choices themselves. Which is why educating children from an early age, to guide them to make healthy choices, is so important. The habits children learn at home will influence their tastes and choices for life.
As diet has an impact on teeth, dentists often give dietary advice to patients. As part of a check-up the dentist assesses the risk of dental decay and gum disease. Cutting down on sugar in particular helps to reduce oral bacteria that attack tooth enamel.
A child’s primary care giver is the best person to establish good routines and monitor good brushing. Moreover, it is the responsibility of a parent or guardian to book appointments with the dentist. Some schools offer tooth checks at school, and some even organise fluoride varnishing, yet it’s still important to visit a dentist regularly.
Regular visits to the dentists are vital to help children’s teeth last a lifetime. The dentist gives you advice tailored specifically for your child during an appointment. Systematic dental checks for children help them to have great smiles for life.
The good news is that the NHS offers excellent help to care for children’s teeth. NHS dental care is offered to babies, children and teens at no additional cost to the family. It’s definitely worth making sure children in your care benefit.
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