Child Dental Benefits Scheme
Oral hygiene is important in the early years of your child, in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Regular dental check-ups enable your family dentist to help you prevent and treat tooth decay, before it causes cavities and toothache.
Children should start to visit the dental clinic as young as possible, so bring them along with you to your check-ups. They may be too young for an examination, but the visits help them to familiarise with the surroundings, the smells and the noise – and most importantly, they meet the dentist.
The examinations may be informal to start off with: a quick look using a dental mirror, counting teeth, and looking for signs of decay. As the child’s confidence grows, your dentist will carry out a more thorough examination.
The Dental Check-up
The following things need to be looked at during check-up:
● Which teeth have erupted (come through the gum)
● Accessing the development of the jaw
● The soft tissues (tongue, cheeks, lips and throat)
● Any cavities in the teeth
● As the child gets older, we assess how they bite together, in order to check if orthodontics are required later on.
We also give advice on preventive care, such as:
● Healthy diet
● Brushing techniques
● Fluoride treatments if necessary
● Fissure sealants if there’s a high risk of cavities developing How to take care of your child’s teeth Oral hygiene starts as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts through the gum, which is around six months of age.
● Use a small and very soft children’s toothbrush, and a rice sized amount of children’s toothpaste. This usually contains less fluoride than adult toothpastes; if you are unsure about the fluoride content, please speak to your local dentist or health visitor.
● Brush twice a day, cleaning the teeth and the gum area. You will need to clean your child’s teeth, or supervise them until they are around 8 years old.
● Encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out, but not to rinse with water, as this reduces the effects of the fluoride
● Do NOT allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle of milk, formula milk or any fruit juice, as these have hidden sugars which will pool around the teeth as they sleep, leading to cavities.
● Limit the amount of sugar in your child’s diet. If they do have sugary snacks and drinks, keep them to meal times only, and give water and healthy snacks in between.
If your child is prone to tooth decay in their baby teeth, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatment, as this helps to strengthen the tooth surface. Then as the adult teeth erupt through the gum, it may be advised that a protective layer is painted onto the tooth’s biting surface, which is called ‘Fissure Sealants’.