Even babies can get tooth decay, particularly if allowed to suck slowly on bottles containing milk or fruit juice. It’s a good idea to limit the use of a bottle for sugary drinks.
Check that your child doesn’t carry a full bottle around with them all day or go to sleep with one.
The following tips might also help to keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Wipe your baby’s teeth with a damp wash cloth. Start using a toothbrush once the molars come through, but use only water until your child reaches 18 months.
Use a child-size toothbrush with soft bristles and replace it every three months.
Once your child learns to spit toothpaste out, use one that contains fluoride. Put a pea-sized amount on the toothbrush and brush your child’s teeth after every meal and before bed. If your child should happen to swallow some toothpaste, the small amount is unlikely to do any harm.
Once all of the baby teeth have appeared, begin using dental floss before brushing. Introduce flossing gradually – once a week is enough at first – and make sure that it is fun for your child and not a burden.
By the age of seven or eight years, your child should be able to brush their own teeth and be starting to floss them.
Why should my child see a dentist?
Regular check-ups by a dentist help with good dental habits and can prevent costly and painful problems later.
Your dentist can help teach you and your child about good food and drink choices and proper brushing technique.
It is important that your first visit to the dentist happens while your child still has baby teeth to help put in place habits that will protect their permanent teeth, which should last for life.
When should my child visit the dentist?
Your child should start to see a dentist sometime between one and three years of age and every six months after the first visit.
Your child should also see a dentist:
- as soon as a possible dental problem is noticed by you or them
- before they start playing contact sports
- if you notice dark spots in the pits of the teeth
- if the upper and lower teeth do not come together correctly in a uniform ‘bite’.
Can illness or medicine damage my child’s teeth?
Any ongoing disease or long-term use of some medications may cause dental problems. If your child is receiving medication for a chronic disease, talk to your dentist about any special dental care they might need.
Many medicines have ingredients that can damage teeth. For example, the antibiotic tetracycline may stain teeth if it is used before the age of nine years and many puffers used for deliver asthma medication can cause problems if they do not rinse their teeth after use