Your child's dental care is very important to us.
We are delighted to have children's dedicated dentists in our team.
We know that visiting the dentist may seem rather scary for your little ones so we do our very best to make sure we put them at ease.
It is particularly important to encourage children to develop good habits that will stay with them for life. Of course our role is to diagnose and treat any decay or unusual tooth development, but we also have an important part to play in ensuring your children learn to look after their teeth.
We will work with you to help your child's teeth remain strong and healthy and will encourage the children with tips and advice to help make cleaning their teeth more effective and fun. We believe in praising children at their dental visits and have a great selection of stickers and certificates available!
One idea we find works well here at Glow Dental Battersea, is to bring the child along when one of the parents is having an examination in order to get them used to the dental environment. Ideally children should start visiting the dentist from about two years of age when it will be possible to examine the deciduous teeth, which should by then all be present. For the majority of children their teeth will develop normally, for some children however there are variations in the number of teeth, their size, colour and shape. If you have any concerns about your child's teeth, you should consult your dentist as soon as possible.
With all children it is important to establish good oral hygiene practice as early as possible to prevent the development of decay and gum problems later childhood and teenage years.
The importance of diet
Avoiding giving a baby or a young child unnecessary sugar is a good way to establish healthy eating patterns to protect every child's teeth for life. Milk and water are the only drinks that we recommend be put into a baby's bottle. Don't give a child sugary drinks in bottles or dummies dipped in a sugary substances.
Ideally babies should be introduced to a feeding cup as soon as possible. Fruit juice given to children, should be diluted (1 part juice to 10 parts water) and given in a cup. Restrict juices to mealtimes only. If the child tends to snack between meals, remember that cheese is a very tooth friendly food - avoid sweets, cakes and biscuits as much as possible.
The importance of cleaning teeth
Plaque will start to form on a child's teeth and gums as soon as the first tooth appears. So, it is very important to begin a suitable tooth-brushing routine as soon as possible. The brushing routine that is established with a child at an early age should continue throughout their life.
Use a toothbrush that is appropriate for the child's age and stage of tooth development. A small-headed soft brush should be used as soon as the first tooth erupts. Character toothbrushes are an excellent way to make brushing fun for young children. A small smear of a children's fluoridated toothpaste should be used on the brush. As the child gets older a slightly larger brush with medium bristles may be used.
The importance of fluoride
Fluoride occurs naturally, at some level, in the water in most areas and helps to prevent tooth decay when at the optimum concentration. Fluoride is present in most toothpastes but special children's toothpastes are better for babies and infants because the amount of fluoride is controlled specifically for their needs. The amount of fluoride in any area's water supply can be found out by contacting the Local Water Authority. Fluoride supplements may be prescribed by the dentist if active decay is identified during routine dental examinations. A varnish can be applied by the dentist or hygienist in the surgery. Although fluoride is a valuable protective agent, like many things it is important to have just the right amount, not too much or too little. To avoid excess fluoride from toothpastes, children under six years should be supervised when tooth-brushing and only use a small smear of toothpaste. Children over seven years can use the family fluoride toothpaste but only a pea sized amount on their brush. If you have any queries regarding fluoride it is always best to ask a dentist.
Weaning & Teething
The timing of the eruption of the first teeth can vary widely from three months to as late as 11 or 12 months. This is perfectly normal but, if there are any concern about late eruption of teeth, this should be discussed with the dentist. The first teeth to appear are usually the central lower teeth (incisors).
Try to introduce babies to 'savoury' foods, such as pureed vegetables and fruit. During teething babies may look a bit flushed and dribble more than usual. Babies often find comfort from the use of teething rings. Teething does not usually cause symptoms such as high temperatures. However when babies are distressed and have a slightly raised temperature they often respond very quickly to a dose of paracetamol suspension.
Teething and eruption dates
The exact dates will vary from child to child, but the following guide will give some idea of what to expect. Permanent tooth development in girls maybe more advanced than in boys.
|Primary, baby or deciduous teeth|
|3-6 months||Central lower incisors erupt|
|9-12 months||All front incisors now present|
|12 months||First primary molars|
|18 months||Primary canines|
|2 years||Second primary molars|
|Adult or permanent teeth|
|About 6 years||Lower central incisors replaced. First lower permanent (adult) molar erupts (6 year molar). These appear behind the primary molars at the back of the mouth|
|9 years||Canines replaced|
|11/12 years||Permanent pre-molars replace primary molars|
|12 years||Second molars erupt|
|16 years +||Wisdom teeth erupt|
The grooves (fissures) and pits on the biting surfaces of children's teeth can be particularly at risk from dental decay. A fissure sealant is a plastic coating which, when applied to these grooves and pits, can protect them from decay.
Not all back teeth need sealing. Where the grooves and pits are particularly deep, or a child has already experienced dental decay in one of their adult back teeth, or their milk teeth have been severely affected by decay, then fissure sealants are indicated. Sealants are usually applied as soon as the permanent back teeth come through (from around 6 years of age), provided the child is old enough to tolerate the procedure.
Fissure sealing is a completely painless process and will not require anaesthetic.
The tooth is polished, washed and dried before being conditioned with a special etching gel. Once etched, it is essential that the tooth surface does not become moistened with saliva before the procedure is completed. As this can be difficult to prevent, a rubber sheet is sometimes applied around the tooth to keep it free of saliva. The sealant is painted onto the prepared tooth surface and flows into the grooves and pits. The sealant is either clear or white in colour. An intense blue light is shone onto the sealant to make it set. This way the setting process takes as little as 20 seconds.
A sealant restoration or fissure sealant reduces the risk of decay occurring on the biting surface of a tooth. The sides of the tooth are still at risk of decay and, in time, decay could still occur under the sealant. Regular checking of the sealant will help to identify if the seal needs to be topped up, repaired or replaced.
To avoid decay, regular cleaning using fluoride toothpaste is essential; so too is a sensible diet, avoiding sugary snacks and drinks.
If your child hasn't been to the dentist yet, why not get them used to the experience by bringing them along to your next check up? Or if they're old enough, book them in for their first appointment. Just call us at Glow Dental in Battersea on 020 7223 7096.
The kindest and most attentive children's dentist I have ever visited. The boys enjoy coming!
M.P. Feb 2014