To all you busy mums and dads, we understand only to well the trials and tribulations of bringing up your children and the worries this can bring. But the question is where do you start when it comes to dealing with the teeth?

Teeth Eruption

Usually and typically the first tooth will appear at five months, but in some cases babies can be born with teeth. My daughter was four months old when her tooth erupted, and yes, I was breast feeding! Luckily, I knew that this was the time I needed to start brushing my little one’s tooth and at least getting her used to what was ahead of her. But would anyone else know this?

Obviously, at four months old and on breast milk, I bought the smallest headed toothbrush I could find and, for the time being, used cooled boiled water to brush it, but we did start brushing.

Once we switched to the bottle, we made sure that only water and milk was allowed to be taken from the bottle. Did you know milk contains sugar? Drip feeding your baby overnight can turn out a complete disaster!

Weening

At six months, we started to ween our little one as per the regulations at the time and we did indeed introduce snacks and juice.

With juice, it is very important to remember that this isn’t something that you can let your child sip on at intervals. Juice is something that should be taken with a snack and finished with the snack. If your child has juice at intervals, it prevents saliva from repairing the teeth.

After eating anything with natural sugars or, indeed artificial sugars, the neutralisers in our mouth can take up to 45 minutes to repair any damage done. If you allow your child to take their time on their juice or snacks there will be an extended period where their teeth are not being naturally repairing/protected by natural neutralisers and the damage will continue. Adults do this with sugary tea.

It’s always worth knowing what snacks are good and bad for the teeth. Did you know dried fruits are as bad as Haribo? Dried fruit, especially raisins, stick to the teeth in the exact same way jelly sweets do. The best thing to do with dried fruit is to have them occasionally.

My daughter loves Haribo and I do allow her to eat them (though chocolate is better), but I promote sweets after a meal as damage has already been done while the child has eaten their main meal and additional sugar at this time will make little difference to the degree of damage to the teeth.

Brushing

Brushing should be carried out twice a day. An adult should be present until the child reaches eight (or in my case, when your child stops being lazy – at this rate he will be 20) to watch and help them brush.

To the parents who believe that they do not need to do this because their child does not eat sweets or drink fizzy pop, you still need to help your child brush. It’s important as there are hidden sugars and acids you have no idea about. Prevention is always better than cure and I would hate for you to be caught out!

Breakfast

This can be a little controversial, however I believe, and so do all my dentists, that brushing is indeed more effective before we tuck in. Let me explain to you why!

When we sleep, bacteria builds up in the mouth and brushing destroys that bacteria. However, if we either don’t brush or we miss the bacteria while brushing, introducing sugar or food to the bacteria causes them to proliferate (multiply) and release acids (or have a poo!) on the teeth. This is what causes the decay. If we brush before, we can reduce the damage.

Another reason to brush before is because in the mornings, I personally don’t have enough time to wait the 45 minutes for my teeth/children’s teeth to repair from any damage caused from having had breakfast. Be aware that an acid attack will have taken place and your saliva is the neutraliser which is what repairs the damage. Brushing stops this from happening.

If any parent or patient would like any more information on how to clean or look after their teeth, or has any questions we can help with, please email us or phone. We will be more than happy to meet with you and talk through any problems