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We advise that youngsters attend from as early as two years and possibly earlier. Primarily they need to say hello and get use to seeing us. This is not a formal checkup, it is all about familiarisation and perhaps a ride in the chair and counting some teeth. Never see this as a MUST DO....it is best done gradually with no pressure. but do not leave it too late!
Meanwhile we still need to think about their teeth. The baby teeth appear between 6 months and 2 1/2 years. Most usually youngsters growing up with Birmingham's fluoridated supply are better protected against decay but most toothpaste adds a little fluoride as well.
If we overdo the toothpaste, beyond a pea sized portion each time our child brushes, they can end up swallowing too much fluoride and this can cause mottling of their adult teeth later on. So slightly less generous with their toothpaste and try to stop them eating it.
Next choose a child's toothpaste... they may not like the strong sensations of adult toothpaste. Choose a child specific type.
Most importantly, their mouth is 1/3 the size of yours and most adults already use a tooth brush that is too big for them.
A child's toothbrush must be small and relatively soft. A good handle that is short and cushioned can also help.
The age when they start brushing by themselves is very variable but even at six or seven years you should take an active interest. Have a look and see if you think they have done a good job cleaning before bedtime. This encourages a higher standard.
In very young children, I believe that diet is most important. If you have looked at my page on PLAQUE you will already know that sugar (or should I say "sweet foods") and plaque are what causes most of the problems.
This means that anything sweet, whether chocolate, biscuits, juice, raisins, horlicks, jam, honey, dried fruit, fizzy drinks etc that is left on our teeth overnight will cause cavities eventually.
Please be aware that NO ADDED SUGAR may just mean that it was so full of sugar in the first place that it would look like treacle if they added any more.
Also breakfast cereals are often very high in sugar. I am not happy with the term "tooth-kind" when applied to drinks containing any sort of sugar. As far as I am aware there is no clinical evidence that anything with sugar in it is TOOTH KIND!
Also there are many natural foods that are very good for your general health but can be disastrous for teeth. Please eat these healthy foods but brush afterwards. Foods in this category include dried fruits, raisins, many health drinks, some savory snacks etc
Finally most youngsters will start changing to adult teeth from six years onwards. It is very important that the baby teeth are excellent since they are the environment that the adult teeth exist in for the next six years to the age of 12 as they change over. So development up to six years of age provides plenty of time to work out diet and brushing and we can just keep improving.
When the teeth change to adult ones, it never seems very ordered to a parent but in nearly every case things are fine. Nevertheless I do see children who have not had routine checks and this then requires considerable correction later.
Just take youngsters regularly. Do not assume someone else will be as concerned as you.
Finally, straight teeth are what everyone has now. So "braces" are brilliant and they work. Most orthodontic cases are started around the earliest teen years. Some are started earlier but these are much less common in the UK.