Chinchilla Dental’s tips for kids:
- Your child should brush with age-appropriate, fluoride toothpaste twice a day from when the first teeth erupt. You should either do this for your child or closely supervise them doing it until they are around 8 years old.
- They can then brush themselves, but monitor it carefully. Kids often rush and are easily distracted so brushing efficiency can easily slip. From around age 5 and up, the Oral-B Stages rechargeable electric toothbrush is ideal.
- Floss any teeth which are touching each other daily no matter what the age of the person. This removes decay-causing bacteria from between the teeth. We like individual floss handles for ease of use with kids.
When should your child start visiting the dentist?
Bring your child for their first dental visit around 1 year of age. This will be for a ‘ride in the chair’ sitting on your lap. Why so early? Well, this is to assess eruption and any enamel development problems which need to be addressed early. After this, visits should be yearly or 6 monthly depending on the risk factors determined by your dentist.
These regular children’s dentist visits foster the belief in a ‘dental home’ for your child and will build their confidence. It reinforces a life-long understanding of the importance and normality of caring for their teeth. At the Chinchilla Dental Practice, we also provide free orthodontic assessments at examination appointments when necessary and will give free oral hygiene instruction and free dietary advice. The best age for the first orthodontic check is around 8 years of age.
The drinks you should avoid:
Avoid sugary and acidic drinks. Drinks should be mainly water and milk. When consumed daily, drinks such as:
- Soft drinks
- Caffeinated drinks and flavoured milks are harmful to tooth enamel and increase the risk of dental cavities.
Also be cautious with chewable daily vitamin supplements such as chewable vitamin C as it is also highly erosive to tooth enamel and can severely damage teeth. Supplements are best swallowed whole or mixed in with food.
As a family, drink fluoridated tap water. Western Downs regional Council at this time fortunately continues to fluoridate our water. Filtering your water may be preventing your child from experiencing the life-long dental benefits that water fluoridation can provide.
Your child’s dental appointment:
- Ask you children’s dentist to place fissure sealants where the grooves in the top of the tooth are difficult to clean. This painless, inexpensive and quick procedure turns the rough, deep and craggy grooves usually in permanent molars into smooth and clean surfaces. Without sealants these surfaces are extremely high risk of developing dental decay. This is because that groove or ‘fissure’ is smaller than the toothbrush bristle and a perfect spot for bacteria and food to lodge.
- Have fluoride treatments at your check-up appointments. Regular 6 monthly application of fluoride at your dental examination has been shown to greatly reduce the incidence of decay forming. It effectively ‘hardens’ the enamel making it more resistant to decay.
- Diagnosis of decay between baby teeth is very difficult to do purely relying on visual inspection. Taking x-rays approximately every 2 years just like we do for adults allows us to pick up small cavities early. Unfortunately with tiny baby teeth, it doesn’t take long for a cavity to reach the nerve or pulp of the tooth and this will cause pain and infection if untreated. This is why it’s best to detect and treat cavities early.
- If a dental cavity in a baby tooth is so deep that is affects the nerve of the teeth providing there is no infection or spontaneous severe pain we can offer a partial nerve treatment before placing a filling. This is called a pulpotomy. Your dentist will explain this procedure further if it is needed.
Avoid the habit of putting an infant to bed with a bottle. Milk pooling around the teeth when they are asleep can result in a devastating decay problem called Early Childhood Caries where nearly all the baby teeth are decayed. Treatment usually involves dental work under general anaesthetics and sometimes removal of the worst affected teeth in children as young as 2 years old.
Baby teeth are important for speech and nutrition. They also hold the space for the adult teeth and need to be cared for. There will be some baby teeth present in the mouth until around 12 years of age. Early loss of baby teeth can result in costly orthodontic problems in the future if the space is not managed with a space maintainer.
Medicare Child Dental Benefits Schedule/Scheme
- For the last couple of years there has been a great government initiative we have been participating in called the Medicare Child Dental Benefits Schedule/Scheme.
- For eligible children aged 2-17 we can bulk bill all treatments up to your limit of $1000
The team here at CDP look forward to meeting your family soon. We love helping kids to grow up smiling!