For many parents, a visit to the dentist is one of the last things they plan when it comes to busy schedules and daily tasks.
A UK survey into oral care, carried out by Mintel Global Market Research in May 2014, revealed that out of nearly 500 parents of children under the age of 12, nearly half did not regularly take their children to the dentist. Only one in five thought their children needed to see a dentist once they had developed baby teeth, and only 63% of mothers and 50% of fathers ensured their children brush their teeth every day. It seems no wonder that 30% of children in the UK have had tooth decay by the age of five.
So when is a good time to introduce your children to a dentist and how often do you need to take your child to the dentist?
Many dentists recommend that you bring your child along to the dentist as soon as their first teeth start to grow. This can be any time from 18 months to 2 years old. The aim is to make sure that you introducegood dental habits early, as a first impression can have a huge impact on their dental health in later life.
The earlier you introduce your children to the dental chair, the less nervous they will be. During your child’s first visit your dentist will look for early signs of disease and apply fluoride varnish when necessary along with advice on preventing decay. They will advise you when the optimal time is to see a specialist orthodontist to correct any crowding.
As soon as your child has teeth you should start brushing them. When they are old enough get them to choose a children’s toothbrush, so they want to use it.
You should use a fluoride toothpaste 1,000 parts per million (ppm) up to the age of three and once your child starts to get their adult teeth (usually from the age of 6) they can start using an adult toothpaste (around 1500 ppm fluoride).
If you aren’t sure about which fluoride toothpaste to use detailed information can be found on the pack. Parents must brush their child’s teeth for the first few years and should then supervise until the age of seven.
Brushing should be done for two minutes in the morning and evening. Children should be shown how to brush (a circular action that starts and finishes in the same place on each tooth) by looking in the mirror, and be taught to spit rather than rinse as this retains the benefits of fluoride.
Eating any foods that contain sugar, not just sweets, can cause tooth decay so try to encourage healthy eating habits and make sure your child brushes their teeth after eating sweets as this will reduce their chances of decay.
So how often do you need to take your child to the dentist? Patients at Paul Lowe Dentistry will usually need to visit once or twice a year depending on the condition of their dental health.
The best bit is this is all FREE if either parent is a registered patient at Paul Lowe Dentistry.
Paul Lowe Dentistry offers free dental check-ups and x-rays for children up to the age of 16 years.
To book your child’s regular check-up call 0121 711 2424.