Tips for parents
It’s never too early to start a good oral health routine, so caring for your child’s teeth is vital.
Starting out: 0 to 16 months
Even before your baby starts teething, you can clean your baby’s mouth using specially designed baby dental wipes. This will help to reduce bacteria and encourage a healthy environment for baby teeth when they do appear. Massaging the gums in this way will also help your baby as teething begins, sometime between six months and one year of age.
Getting to grips: 10 months to 3 years
You should begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as their first tooth appears. Use a baby toothbrush with soft bristles and an adult-sized handle, combined with a smear of suitable toothpaste containing a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm. Toddlers can then be given their own chewable toothbrushes to help them get into the habit of cleaning their teeth early on.
Onwards and upwards: 3 to 6 years
All baby teeth are usually present by the age of three, and by this time your child should start trying to brush their own teeth using a pea-sized blob of of toothpaste with a fluoride level of between 1350ppm and 1500ppm. Your child should now start seeing the dentist regularly to make sure that any potential problems are identified before they develop.
Visiting the dental practice from a young age will also help your child to establish a positive relationship with their dentist and their dental team, and get used to the practice environment.
Up and running: 6 years onwards
By the age of six or seven, adult teeth will have started to erupt. For this reason, it’s especially important that sugary food and drink is avoided if possible.
Children should continue using the right toothpaste for their age, with a fluoride level of between 1350ppm and 1500ppm. Brushing should still be supervised by an adult every day until children are over seven years old and you’re sure they’re doing it correctly.
You can ensure your child receives the best start in oral healthcare by registering them on Denplan for Children. This plan is designed with your child in mind and tailored specifically to their dental needs.
7 to 12 years
By the age of seven, adult teeth will have started to come through. Children should still be supervised when brushing, and sugary food and drink should be avoided if possible.
12 to 18 years
Children should now be mature enough to take responsibility for keeping their own teeth clean. Teeth in this age group are particularly prone to damage caused by fizzy drinks consumed between meals, as acids from these attack tooth enamel and can cause it to wear away.
It’s best to wait for half an hour before brushing after eating or drinking, to allow saliva to naturally neutralise the acids from some foods and drinks which soften tooth enamel.
18 to 50 years
Many adults will suffer from a form of gum disease at some stage of their lives. There are two main types: gingivitis and periodontitis. Of the two, periodontitis is the more serious because it can actually eat away at part of the jawbone, causing permanent bone loss.
The first signs of gum disease are usually swollen and red gums that bleed easily. Eventually, if left untreated, the gums start to recede and can result in teeth becoming loose and eventual tooth loss.
To reduce the chances of serious gum disease, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, clean between your teeth at least once a day, and visit your dentist regularly, who will be able to monitor the condition of your gums.
Some of your teeth may show signs of damage because they have been worn down by general wear, grinding and over-brushing. Continue to avoid sugary sweets and drinks and follow a good brushing routine at home. It is now even more important to clean between your teeth and continue to visit your dental team regularly.