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Children’s teeth – Oral Health Foundation

Children’s teeth – Oral Health Foundation – New Update 2023

We are a small group of passionate dental professionals who have been writing for the public for over 10 years. Our mission is to provide accurate, up-to-date oral health information so people can make informed decisions about their dental care.
We know that excellent oral health is essential for overall health and well-being, and we are committed to helping our readers achieve and maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Should I use fluoride toothpaste?

Your teeth can get fluoride in a number of different ways, including from toothpaste, specific fluoride applications and perhaps the drinking water in your area. These can all help to prevent tooth decay.

If you are unsure about how much fluoride you need in your toothpaste ask your dental team.

All children up to three years old should use a smear of toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). After three years old, they should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm.

You can check the level of fluoride on the packaging of the toothpaste. Children should be supervised when brushing up to the age of 7. You should make sure that they do not rinse but spit out the toothpaste, and that they don’t swallow any if possible. This way the fluoride stays in the mouth for longer and will be more effective.

What sort of brush should children use?

There are many different types of children’s toothbrushes, including brightly coloured brushes, some that change colour, some with favourite characters on the handle, and some with a timer. These all encourage children to brush their teeth. The most important thing is to use a small-headed toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles, suitable for the age of your child.

Using a power toothbrush, suitable for the age of your child, can help to make brushing fun and make sure your child brushes for the correct amount of time.

What could cause my child to have toothache?

Toothache is painful and upsetting, especially in children, and the main cause is tooth decay. This is due to too much sugar, too often, in the diet.

Teething is another problem. It starts at around 6 months, and it can continue when the adult teeth start to appear. If your child needs pain relief, make sure you choose a sugar-free medicine. If the pain continues then contact your dental team for an appointment. Remember to check with your doctor or pharmacist that you are being prescribed sugar-free medicines at all times.

How can I prevent tooth decay in my child?

The main cause of tooth decay is not the amount of sugar or acid in the diet, but how often it is eaten or drunk. The more often your child has sugary or acidic foods or drinks, the more likely they are to have decay. So it is important to have sugary and acidic foods just at mealtimes. If you want to give your child a snack, try to stick to cheese, vegetables and fruit. Try to limit how much dried fruit you give as it is high in sugar.

Don’t give them drinks containing sugars, including fruit juices, between meals. Give them water or milk instead. For babies, don’t add sugar to their drinks, or to foods when you introduce them to solids.

It is also worth remembering that some processed baby foods contain quite a lot of sugar. Try checking the list of ingredients: the higher up the list sugar is, the more there is in the product. Generally anything ending in ‘ose’ is a sugar, for example: fructose, glucose, lactose or sucrose. Thorough brushing with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night, and at least one other time during the day, will help to prevent tooth decay.

What if my child is very nervous about going to the dentist?

Children can sense fear in their parents, so it is important not to let your child feel that a visit to the dental team is something to be worried about. Try to be supportive if your child needs to have any dental treatment. If you have any fears of your own about going to the dentist, don’t let your child hear you talk about them.

Regular visits to the dental team are essential in helping your child get used to the surroundings and what happens there. A child can be much more anxious if it is their first visit to a dental practice. Pain and distress can happen at any time and it is important to prepare your child with regular visits.


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Need more advice?

GetImageIf you need free and impartial advice about your oral health, contact our Dental Helpline by email or call one of our dental advisors on 01788 539 780 for free advice (local rate call).

Our Dental Helpline is completely confidential and has helped almost 400,000 people since opening over 20 years ago. Contact our experts by telephone, email or online enquiry, Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 17:00.

Read more Children’s teeth – Oral Health Foundation related articles in the same category

We are a small group of enthusiasts who have been writing dental articles for a few years. We believe that good oral health is the key to a happy and healthy life. Our goal is to provide accurate, up-to-date information on all aspects of dentistry so that our readers can make informed decisions about their oral health.
We know choosing a dentist or dental treatment can be overwhelming, but we hope our articles will help make the process a little easier.
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