Looking after your kid’s teeth at home is easy if you follow these few handy tips between dental visits. Here are the most common questions we receive about kids’ teeth.
1. When should I brush my kid’s teeth for them?
Brush kids teeth for them before the age of 8. Before this age, kids lack the dexterity to brush their teeth properly. So get over their shoulder and make it happen!
2. What age can children use adult toothpaste? When do permanent teeth come out?
The best toothpaste for kids varies depending on age. When kids are very young, they tend to swallow toothpaste so it is best to buy a “children’s toothpaste” for them to use. For children under the age of 2, a baby toothpaste is recommended.
From the age of 6, the baby teeth will start to fall out. This is the time that kids will get their first adult teeth so from 6 years and older, the extra protection of a “full strength” adult toothpaste will be needed.
We recommend Colgate Total for its antibacterial effect.
3. Do you have any suggestions for teaching my kid to spit toothpaste?
As soon as kids are aware enough to not swallow toothpaste (around 4 generally), get them in the habit of spitting out all their toothpaste but NOT rinsing with water. The minerals in toothpaste have a much greater chance to “soak” into the teeth if not immediately rinsed off with water.
4. Should I encourage my kid to brush after eating sugar?
Sugar is a big contributor to tooth decay in kids. Sugary foods and drinks (and even fruit), when left in the mouth, produce acid which attacks the teeth. To minimise the effect of this, try and follow up each sugary snack with a drink of water or brushing.
5. How can I reduce the impact of sugar on my kid’s teeth?
Grouping daily sugary snacks into one sitting (eg morning/ afternoon tea) and following up with a glass of water or brushing greatly reduces the length of time that sugar acid has to attack the teeth.
That way the child’s mouth will be acidic for 5 minutes instead of 5 hours!
6. Should I get them a custom-fitted mouthguard?
It’s essential that the risks to teeth of contact sports are reduced with a suction fitted, custom-made mouthguard.
Injuries obtained to children’s teeth due to loose generic mouth guards or not wearing one can affect their smile for life so it’s worth investing in one.
7. What’s the difference between school dentists and private dentists?
School dentists are often not dentists, but “dental therapists” not fully trained in all aspects of dentistry. We invite all parents to our clinic for a 2nd opinion before any work is completed on their children.
The clinical opinions and skill level of our career private practice dentists, who are committed to your child’s life long care, can vary greatly from those found in this government setting.
8. Are dental visits important between the ages of 1 and 5?
Parents often feel that the need for a child to visit their Brisbane childrens dentist between the ages of 1-5 is not that great as they are “just” baby teeth are “just going to fall out anyway.” This is a mistake as a strong healthy set of baby teeth has many long term benefits for the child and parents, including:
- Forming a framework for the adult teeth to grow through which help minimise teeth crowding and the need or longevity of braces later on.
- Creates a positive dental experience for children who come to enjoy going to the dentist, looking after their teeth and having a confident smile.
- Early visits can help inform parents of the best techniques for their child’s unique needs. This generic advice is true in most cases it can vary greatly with things like medication and diet.
9. What age should children get braces?
A most common inquiry among parents is at what age should children get braces. The simplest answer is that braces work best during a child’s growth spurt because as the face grows things can be guided into place. On average this is 11-14 for girls and 12-15 for boys.
Some children however need more comprehensive work completed before this age to e.g align the bite. So we often refer children from routine 6 monthly checkups as young as 10 years old for an orthodontic assessment.
10. Should you contact us?
At Australia Dental Clontarf, we genuinely love working with kids! We are fully equipped as a bulk billing practice under the new Medicare Child Dental Benefit Scheme and each child receives a fun little present at the end of the trip. We even give our Mascot – Mr Toofus Bright (like his Facebook page!) away to each child to remind them of their visit and to look after their teeth each day.
Call us today on: 07 3284 7112 or 1800 A Dental
Address: 9 Elizabeth Ave Clontarf
Disclaimer: This advice is produced in good faith as a highly general guide for parents on some important elements of children’s oral care. It cannot substitute or replace an independent consultation and advice of a dentist tailored to a child’s specific needs.