WHEN SHOULD I START BRUSHING MY BABY'S TEETH?
It is important to begin brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they appear in the mouth, with a baby tooth brush. We recommend no toothpaste under the age of one. It is important to use a child's toothpaste, between the ages of one and six, and only ever use less than a pea size amount. Never use adult toothpaste for your baby's teeth. Treat toothpaste like a medicine, and keep it out of your baby, or child's reach.
WHAT PREVENTIVE CARE DO I NEED TO PROVIDE FOR MY CHILD?
Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as four months the first primary or baby teeth can erupt through the gums. All 20 of the primary teeth usually appear by age three, although their pace and order of eruption varies.
Permanent teeth begin appearing around age six. This process will continue until approximately age 21, depending on whether wisdom teeth are present.
To help ensure oral health and a lifetime of good oral care habits follow these key preventive measures:
* Limit sugar intake to help prevent tooth decay.
* Make sure children get enough fluoride, either through drinking water or as a treatment at the dentist’s office to strengthen tooth enamel and resist decay.
* Consider dental sealants to provide a further layer of protection against cavities. They are made of an advanced plastic and are bonded to the teeth by a dental professional.
* Teach kids to brush and floss regularly and properly. Try creating ways to make brushing and flossing fun for your child in order to encourage a good oral health routine. Sometimes we ask children to brush their teeth to their favourite song, to ensure that they are brushing for around two minutes.
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WHEN SHOULD I START BRUSHING MY BABY'S TEETH?
Dental visits for kids
Seeing the dentist at an early age is important to make that the children's teeth and gums are healthy.
Around 30% of preschoolers have never seen a dentist with many parents realising the benefit of having their child's teeth checked with the dentist before they’re three years old. Around 25% of primary school aged children in Australia have tooth decay with 10% ending up needing a tooth extraction.
Some other data indicates that one in 3 children aren't brushing their teeth twice a day.
Tooth decay is preventable but is on the rise in Australia and affecting young children, even resulting in hospital admissions for dental treatment of severe infections.
When tooth decay is untreated it can result in chronic infection and pain, and can affect a child's growth, development and general well being. In the long term, dental disease is known to be linked with poor health, including heart disease in later life.
when a child should visit the dentist
It is recommended that children be taken to the dentist when the first tooth comes through or at around 1 year of age. Early visits are important to ensure that an infant's teeth and gums are healthy, and to offer support and education before tooth structure gets damaged, because it happens with time, and can not always be seen easily. Changes to routine or diet can be implemented to prevent toddlers from experiencing damage to their teeth. Some children around the age of two have been admitted to hospital with severe damage and infections in their teeth, requiring removal of their baby teeth, with statistics showing that the number in Australia is over 20 000 children requiring these kinds of treatments in a year.
Regular checks of teeth allow issues with the teeth to be identified and addressed, and allows a dental professional the opportunity to treat issues at an early stage and to prevent complex issues developing.
Some parents are concerned about the cost of seeing a dentist, however there are some free public dental care services available for children in Australia, and the federal Child Dental Benefits Schedule provides eligible families with $1000 worth of dental treatment over two years, which can be used for a child between the ages of 2 and 17, to see a private dentist. This is available for families who received a parenting payment or family tax benefit Part A.
when should children brush their teeth?
Brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before bed time, is the best way of reducing the chance of tooth decay in children.
When a baby's first tooth comes through, this should be brushed with water and a child's toothbrush.
From the age of 18 months, a tiny dab of children's strength toothpaste can be used. Adult strength toothpaste can be used from the ages of six. It is important to brush your child's teeth until the age of 8, because children don't do it thoroughly.
Most children lose the baby teeth around the age of 6, with the last baby tooth being lost around the age of 12. Even though the baby teeth do fall out, they need to be kept in a healthy and strong condition so a child can chew and eat properly. They also save space for the adult teeth and for the bite to line up properly.
Most children will begin losing their primary teeth, also known as “baby” or “milk” teeth, from around the age of six. The last falls out about age 12. One in five parents indicated they thought it didn’t matter if young children got tooth decay since their baby teeth fall out anyway.
Photo credit: Children's Books Daily
notes about diet?
Putting a child to bed with sweetened drinks or milky drinks is strongly linked to tooth decay and allows sugar to pool around the teeth for long periods of time. From the age of one babies should be encouraged to drink from a cup and should be put to bed after their teeth have been brushed.
More than 90% of tap water in Australia is fluoridated, which helps to make teeth stronger and prevent tooth decay. Most bottled water in Australia has very little to no fluoride.
Most parents know that sugary food and drinks cause tooth decay, but more that 60% of Australian children exceed the recommendation from the World Health Organisation for sugar intake.
The recommended maximum daily intake of added sugar for children should be no more than five teaspoons.
Although primary (or baby) teeth are only present during early childhood years, they play an important role in the development of your child’s smile and long term oral health.
This is because primary teeth:
- Help protect developing adult teeth
- Prevent jaw bone loss and gum deterioration
- Retain space within the mouth for the correct positioning of adult teeth
- Support the development of your child’s jaw and facial structure
It is highly important to invest in the health of your child’s baby teeth by maintaining a comprehensive at home dental care routine and visiting the dentist and dental hygienist every six months for a check-up, or yearly at least.
TOP TIPS TO CARE FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS' TEETH
1. Give your baby and toddler whole and unprocessed foods, as much as is possible.
2. There is no reason to ever give your baby or toddler anything with refined sugars, including cakes, biscuits, lollies, ice-cream and sugary drinks, including juices. Some fruit or cheese is a good little treat.
3. Breast feed your baby as long as is possible, and as long as your are comfortable.
4. Never add anything to formula or milk in a bottle or cup. Adding honey or something like that will not make your baby sleep better.
5. Start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they come through, around 6 months of age, but don't worry if they come through later than this.
6. Do brush your toddler's teeth even if they get upset with you about this. The night time brushing is incredibly important to remove all of the food debris that gets stuck in the back teeth to prevent decay.
7. It sounds impossible, but if you can, floss your toddler's teeth from 2.5 years of age.
8. Take your toddler to the dentist around the age of 2.5 for a gentle introduction and ride in the chair, and to make regular dental preventive care a part of life for your child. Six monthly dental checks are best. Polishes with the dentist are normally done around the age of 5 to keep the teeth stain-free.
9. Use a baby toothbrush twice a day from when the teeth come through, and use the smallest dab of child's toothpaste. Keep the toothpaste away from your baby and treat it like a medicine. Change your baby's toothbrush regularly.
10. The baby teeth are critically important to keep the bite in the correct place, and toddlers are often seen with draining and painful abscesses which require General Anaesthetic work with Dental specialists. Although they do all fall out by the time your child is a teenager, the condition of the baby teeth is a marker of how the adult teeth will most likely be.
Good habits from a very early age create good habits for life.
The current guidelines state to
☞ immediately replant the tooth
☞ if it can't be immediately replanted, hold the part of the tooth that could be seen in the smile, not the root, try not to touch the root at all, and put it in some MILK as soon as possible. Call the dentist immediately.
☞ sports team, organisations and schools should have a storage medium, called SOS DENTOBOX, which has a 3 year shelf life, and which improves the chance of successful treatment
☞ if the tooth dries out, after 5 minutes the cells on the root are starting to die, and after 30 minutes there is 50% less of a chance that the tooth is going to be able to survive the trauma
In a younger patient, the chance of the nerve repairing and healing is much higher, but in an adult, there is limited ability to heal and it is likely that the tooth will need to be at least root treated, and this is best attended to by an endodontist ( root canal specialist dentist)
It's a common saying that prevention is the cure, and it is by far the best treatment in dentistry. The key focus for preventive strategies is best started for children, so that their first dental experience is a positive one, and by seeing children early on, dental staff can assist the child to practice good oral hygiene to prevent significant problems from occurring. Research indicates that 50% of children and three out of 10 adults have untreated tooth decay in Australia, which is concerning given that 90% of dental disease is preventable, with the severity and prevalence of tooth decay increasing since the mid 1990's. By reducing the sugar consumption in the diet, especially of sugary drinks, and acidic foods, and with healthy oral hygiene habits, such as tooth brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day, tooth decay can be prevented. Early childhood caries (EEC) is the number one chronic disease affecting young children, and is completely preventable.
Dental decay disease crosses all socioeconomic boundaries with high prevalence and is a significant health burden in Australia and around the world. Decay is an infectious disease that is modified by diet, and is a significant predictor of long term dental health problems and creates problems with speech, eating and poor self esteem, and therefore prevention is identified as a key priority. Healthy teeth and gums are important to a child's general health and well being, and prevention is most definitely superior to the cure. Sugar consumption is steadily rising globally, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued recommendations on sugar consumption to reduce the risk of diseases in adults and children, with a specific focus on obesity and tooth decay.
Tooth decay is thought to result in dental care costs which are 5-10% of the health budgets of industrialised countries, and with oral diseases related to systemic disease, dental health is recognised as a measure of good overall health. One of the challenges with dental health is that many people believe that cavities are inevitable, with almost 100% of adults having experienced tooth decay. Studies indicate that almost half of adults forget to brush and floss before bed, and the expectation ought to be that people can keep their teeth without fillings, with the right preventive care measures, home care and observance by a dental health care provider each 6 months.