It is recommended that children should go to the dentist with their parents as soon as their baby teeth start to come through. You should then take them regularly, as often as your dental team recommend. This will let them get used to the noises, smells and surroundings and prepare them for future visits. The earlier these visits start, the more relaxed your child will be.
Tooth decay is a preventable disease caused by bacteria in our mouths. The bacteria live in plaque, which builds up in a film on our teeth throughout the day. The bacteria feed on sugar from the foods we eat and produce acids, which cause damage to the teeth. Tooth decay is the one of the most common reasons for children being admitted to hospital in the UK.
We can prevent tooth decay by brushing twice a day to remove the plaque (and bacteria) from our teeth, and limiting sugar in foods and drinks. We can also help to strengthen our teeth by using a flouride toothpaste.
Flouride occurs naturally in water throughout the UK in varying amounts. In some areas, additional flouride is added to the water. When visiting the dentist, they may discuss applying a flouride varnish to your child’s teeth to help strengthen them.
We recommend brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with a flouride toothpaste. Different levels of flouride are recommended for children of different ages, which are listed below. You can check the flouride level in your child’s toothpaste on the tube.
Children under 3 years old – a smear of toothpaste, 1000ppm F.
Children 3 – 6 years old – a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, 1000ppm F.
6 years and older – a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, 1350 – 1500ppm F.
If your child is at a higher risk of dental decay, the dentist may recommend a higher level of flouride.
Some children do not like the taste and texture of mint toothpaste. If this is the case, you could try a mild or flavour-free toothpaste. Please check that they have the correct flouride level to protect your child’s teeth. If you have any questions, you can check with your child’s dentist.