Children’s Dentistry at Larkham House
When should my child start going to the dentist?
We recommend that your child first sees a dentist and has their first dental check-up from the age of six months as this is when the first tooth usually appears, and certainly by the age of one when most of your baby’s front teeth are present. This follows the guidance of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry. We are also on hand for dietary advice (especially on the intake of sugars) and proper oral care recommendations.
The journey to a life of healthy teeth and gums starts even before your child requires dental care.
What happens at my child’s first appointment?
The first appointment is an important one, it should be a positive and fun experience so that your child grows up without any dental phobias. It’s a chance to meet your dentist and their team. Hopefully your child will enjoy the ride in the dental chair, and be ready to open their mouth for an examination. Don’t worry if that is not the case, we are naturally gifted with children and skilled at making the most nervous child feel comfortable and happy in our surgery. We are kind and gentle, with lots of tricks up our sleeve to make visiting the dentist a positive experience.
This visit is also an opportunity for you to check what sort of toothbrush and toothpaste is right for your child and to get advice on food and drink. We also offer fluoride varnish so that when your child is a bit older, he or she can be given a protective varnish for their back teeth which helps to prevent decay. The NHS Change4Life website has tips and ideas for cutting down on sugary foods and drinks.
We aim to make your child’s appointments positive and something to look forward to, good oral health, not only affects your child’s confidence but also alleviate future pain and extensive treatment.
When and how often should children brush their teeth?
- Clean teeth for two minutes twice a day.
- Always brush just before bedtime.
- Clean teeth before breakfast and not after, as this removes potential acid-forming bacteria that has built up overnight.
- Always spit out of toothpaste, but never rinse as this will wash away the fluoride, reducing its protection.
- If your child brushes after meals, always wait for a few minutes to give their mouth time to neutralise any acid, brushing sooner could drive the acid deeper into teeth, corroding them further.
Dietary advice and oral health education
In addition to advice given by our dentists, we have two lead nurses who are Oral Health Educators and would be happy to spend time giving visual demonstrations. They are qualified to give dietary advice for healthier choices for you and your child as well as in Schools and Nurseries.
Looking after baby teeth
Did you know that baby teeth are just as susceptible to cavities as adult teeth? You should start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day as soon as they emerge, use a very thin film of high fluoride toothpaste (no less than 1,000 ppm / parts per million). The fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by protecting the tooth against sugars and bacteria in the mouth. It’s important that your child spits out the toothpaste, but not necessary for them to rinse with water as the excess fluoride can continue to protect their teeth.
It is essential that you look after baby teeth, they function as “placeholders” for your child’s permanent teeth. If baby teeth are lost too early it can cause adult teeth to grow wrongly into the empty space, making it difficult for other teeth to find room later. This could lead to a variety of future dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease and abnormal wear on the tooth surfaces.
My child won’t brush their teeth, what can I do to encourage them?
- Try fruit-flavoured toothpaste which contains fluoride.
- Only use a ‘pea size’ amount of toothpaste from aged two-years-old and up and a ‘smear’ for children under two years.
- Children’s toothbrushes should always have a small head.
- Try offering fun rewards, sticker charts, or make up a silly song to encourage your child to brush your teeth.
- Download a Toothbrush Timer app to make it more fun.
- Buy a big egg timer and see who can keep brushing until the two-minute timer runs out!
When should my child see an orthodontist?
The age at which treatment may be undertaken varies depending on the needs of your child, Generally, Orthodontic treatment is carried out once all the adult teeth have emerged, however in certain cases early intervention can reduce or even avoid future orthodontic treatment. As a rule, we recommend that around the age of 8 is an appropriate time for your child to be assessed by our specialist orthodontist.