09 Sep 2013

Dr William Fenlon Recommends 7 Tips for Healthy Kids Teeth

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Dr William Fenlon Recommends 7 Tips for Healthy Kids Teeth

1. When should I brush my child’s teeth?

As soon as they erupt! Plaque (bacteria) sticks to teeth as soon as they come through the gum, so to keep the teeth and gums health start brushing when the first tooth erupts. You should brush twice per day.

2. When should I let my child brush their teeth?

I advise that an adult helps with the brushing until 7 years of age. Your child may want to brush, and this is good for developing the skill to brush, but they don’t develop the dexterity until 7 years. A team effort where one starts and the other finishes will ensure good oral hygiene.

3. What type of brush should I use?

I advise a small soft brush. Small means the same length as the four bottom front teeth. A manual brush is as good as an electric brush in plaque removal.

4. Which toothpaste should I use?

I advise a fluoridated paste. This reduces the risk of decay by 30%. For children under 6 years of age there is a children’s version with reduced fluoride content paste. Once your child has mastered spitting out (at about 6 years of age) they can use an adult paste.

5. What about floss?

If your child’s teeth are tight together then start flossing. You will have to help with flossing until 9-10 years of age. Flossing tight contacts reduces the risk of decay and keeps the gum healthy between the teeth. I advise flossing once a day with a waxed floss.

6. When should I stop bottle or breast feeding?

From a dental point of view, weaning should happen by 1 year of age. A feeding cup can be introduced followed by a regular cup. Be very careful feeding at night, as we have very little saliva produced while sleeping. A particular aggressive form of decay can result affecting top front teeth soon after they erupt. Water is the only safe drink at night.

7. When should I bring my child for their first dental visit?

I advise bringing them between 1 and 2 years of age. This allows assessment of their developing dentition, identification of risk factors and discussion of preventive strategies. Once parents are aware of risk factors they can alter their habits to prevent the development of a problem. In addition a “good first visit” reduces the chance of dental fear or anxiety developing in the future. So bring them along before they have a problem!

Dr William Fenlon www.billythekidsdentist.com