Comprehensive Oral Health Care For Children In Chelmsford
Good mouth care starts before we are even able to brush our own teeth.
The chances are that many of you reading this blog are parents, or are perhaps hoping to be in the not too distant future. We have tried to use our blogs to give our adult patients help and guidance on how to look after their teeth and gums as best as they can, and now it is time to turn our attention to the younger generation, many of whom will be too young to be able to look after their own oral health care.
Young children’s teeth are important, and whilst it is true that their first teeth will eventually fall out, to be replaced by adult teeth, this doesn’t mean that it is not important to take care of them. Indeed, failure to do so can lead to problems for them as their new teeth erupt, causing them to come through crooked and uneven.
So, if you have a child, whether a young baby or a teenager, we hope our Chelmsford patients will find today’s blog helpful.
Babies are born without teeth but even at this stage, some oral health care should be carried out. Despite the lack of teeth, gum problems can occur and may even contribute to additional discomfort as they start teething. From about the age of three months, you can start to gently clean their gums using a soft clean cloth wrapped over your finger. This should be soaked until it is damp rather than wet, and in lukewarm water. Do this gently and it will help to remove bacteria from the gums and may also help the young child become accustomed to the idea of cleaning this area.
As baby teeth erupt, you can then move on to using a very soft brush to clean their new teeth. Be very gentle with this otherwise you may find brushing their teeth gets even harder as they grow older.
From around one year old, you should start to bring your baby to Blue Sky Dental for examinations. It is unlikely that any treatment will be needed but it is a good idea to monitor their oral health from this age and will also help to get them used to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental clinic.
Once your young child becomes more independent, they may resist you cleaning their teeth for them. This isn’t a bad thing as they need to learn how to do this themselves. Even when they have learned to do this, you should still supervise them as children are somewhat prone to being in a world of their own and however much you insist that they brush their teeth for two minutes, the chances are that a good proportion of this will be spent wandering around with the brush in their mouth while they do something else. Keep an eye on them until you are really confident that they can brush their own teeth effectively.
Sweets can also be a problem at this age. Kids have and probably always will, love sugary sweets and chocolates. It is likely to prove almost impossible to ban these altogether but do try to limit them and perhaps offer alternative treats instead, such as offering small toys etc as an alternative to sweets.
By this age, they should be having regular six monthly check ups at our Chelmsford dental practice. Cavities are relatively common at this age and it is far better to provide a small filling than to allow a tooth to become more painful and deteriorate further so that it needs to be extracted.
The teenage years can be the hardest for a parent. You find that you have less control of them as they grow up and develop their own friendship groups etc. This is all good training for adult life but is not without its challenges. One of these is how you help them keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Every teenager is different and some will respond to gentle encouragement around their oral health whilst others may need constant ‘nagging’ to clean their teeth on a daily basis. Every parent will need to work out the best way to do this with their own child, but just ignoring the problem shouldn’t be an option. Poor oral health care at this age can lead to long term dental problems which could have a significant impact into their adult lives. Take control where you can, such as making sure they have dental appointments booked and minimise the amount of sweets in the house as they may well eat more than their fair share when they are out with friends!
As your teenagers become older and perhaps leave home to go to university, you hand over a lot of responsibility to them, but it never hurts to keep reminding them to look after their teeth well and to see the dentist. You may be able to book appointments when they come home for example, and you can perhaps buy them an electric toothbrush for a present to help them. Make sure to also provide replacement heads or they may well use worn bristles for a long time which are ineffective at removing food particles and bacteria.
Talk to your teenager too about the risks of smoking and alcohol and perhaps drugs too if you suspect they might be tempted. All of these can have a serious impact on their oral health and can result in premature tooth loss.
They may not thank you for all of this of course, but as they grow older they will be grateful for having a healthy set of teeth; something that might not have happened without your intervention.
For children of all ages, appointments can be made at Blue Sky Dental by calling our friendly receptionists on 01245 211070.