Because they really matter...
Maintaining your child's oral health
As dental professionals, we believe in preventative dental care and encourage our patients to bring their children to the Clinic when the first milk teeth appear. Quite frankly, its not often that children co-operate at such an early age, but they do become more familiar with the environment. Gradually getting to know us better, whilst building their confidence and engaging with their own health. Our dentists encourage young patients to look after their own health. We can also help prevent decay and identify any oral health problems at an early stage. We will encourage your child to let us take a look in their mouth but we would not force them.
Our ‘milk' teeth start to appear from six to ten months and they play an important role as they help with the development of speech and chewing. By visiting our Clinic we will be able to monitor the progress and health of your child’s teeth whilst also checking to see if there are any future problems before permanent teeth arrive.
There are a number of preventative treatments that our team can provide for children. Fluoride applications and fissure sealants are a safe and effective way to safeguard your growing child's teeth from developing decay.
Start Their Visits Early
Studies have shown that the younger the age you bring your child for dental exams, the more likely they are to have a positive experience and grow up not to be afraid of the dentist.
When you visit the dentist with your child, be positive about it and make the trip fun. A family outing to the Dentist? Of course there are other places more fun to go as a family, but… Why not?
This will stop your child worrying about future visits. It is very important that you try not to pass on any of your own fears.
Bring your child for regular dental check-ups as advised by the dentist.
NHS dental care for children is free.
Looking after your child's teeth and mouth
Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through. It’s important to use a fluoride paste as this helps prevent and control tooth decay. Children should use just a smear of toothpaste. Children aged between three and six years should use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste.
All children can use family toothpaste as long as you supervise brushing with them until the age of seven and make sure they don’t eat or lick toothpaste from the tube.
Children under the age of six who don’t have tooth decay can use a children’s toothpaste if you prefer, but make sure it contains at least 1,000ppm fluoride. Check the toothpaste packet for this information.
It is important that you brush your child’s teeth for about two minutes twice a day; ideally, once just before bedtime; and at least one other time during the day. Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste but not to rinse with lots of water. Rinsing with water after tooth brushing will wash away the fluoride and reduce its benefits.
Supervise tooth brushing until your child is seven or eight years old, either by brushing their teeth yourself or, if they brush their own teeth, by watching how they do it.
From the age of seven or eight, they should be able to brush their own teeth, but it’s still a good idea to watch them now and again to make sure they brush properly and for about two minutes.
A Dentist's Personal Experience
(By Miguel Colaço, principal dentist at Honeycomb Dental Clinic)
As a dentist, I have spent my career giving advice to parents on how to look after their children’s teeth. I surely know the theory...
However, since I became a father I realised that theory and practice at very young ages quite often tend to clash.
Indeed, looking after my little one’s teeth became a challenge that I did not have real insight in before. For example, how often are we rushing to work or elsewhere in the morning, and we are dealing with an impatient child? A very familiar affair…
Olivia is now 4 and she understands very well the concept of brushing her teeth and why she has to do it. She does not always like it and yes, sometimes she offers resistance. I find the excuses she comes up with amusing but with a little persistence and attention, she ends up doing it: twice a day every day. Myself and mum consistently work together…
Each family has its own agenda and routine and what works better for some does not work for others, of course…
But I've created three personal tips that I'd like to share and that I found the most useful for the process of teaching my child the basic need of brushing her teeth.
My Three Personal Tips:
Rather than (just) telling her she has to brush her teeth, I have read her many children’s cartoon books based on teeth, dentistry, etc. It is amazing how many of these books are available. Bed time stories become fun and educational at the same time. Without even noticing, Olivia became more aware of her mouth and teeth. And by comparing herself with cartoon figures and seeing black holes in others teeth, she did not want to end up the same way, giving her extra-motivation to brush her teeth and tongue.
We often brush our teeth as a family, or I often sit down to her level/height and brush my teeth with her. Together. Children want to be like us adults - they copy you. Even when it is not her time to brush her teeth, I often let her notice that I am brushing my own teeth. Without pointing it out, I do notice that she stares at me from the distance. And I repeat it over and over. I do it to this day. Very young children do not understand the concept of bacteria or decay. But if ‘daddy’ is brushing his teeth, it cannot be that bad… (or so I hope she is thinking).
And finally, I came across a tooth brushing chart when she was 3 years old. Olivia was already brushing her teeth daily, but was very irregular and we would often lose track of how many times she had done it that day. I felt this chart was the step towards consistency. It was a daily chart to tick boxes, morning and night. So successful to the point she would often be the one reminding me she had not done it that night!
About my Tooth Brushing Chart
The visual effect of the chart definitely caused an impact and my daughter would take pleasure at crossing each box and seeing the chart being filled. We created our own little game…
The chart was bespoke by me (not invented) to help all you daddies and mummies (allow me saying by this order) out there with the challenging task of brushing your child’s teeth.
It was so successful with us that I decided to create our own:
Please feel free to download it as many times as you like!