Children’s Teeth

babysmile

Childhood diseases of the mouth are all-too-common and potentially harmful problems. There are many issues other than just tooth decay that if not detected early can all lead to:

  • pain
  • problems with eating and chewing
  •  difficulties with speaking and learning
  • inhibited growth
  • cognitive and social developmental problems
  • self-esteem and overall quality of life

How your child experiences dentistry early on will shape their attendance, dental habits, dental health and overall health for life! The most effective way to prevent childhood tooth decay and other oral and gum diseases is to be sure your child visits the dentist early in life from 6 months of age and visits regularly.

Choose Age Category below. If you have specific questions ask us at MyteethNVD

Age 0-2

The baby teeth usually start to erupt around 6 months but everybody is different.  This is the ideal time to come and visit our Oral Health Therapist for your child’s First Dental Visit

Teething: Evidence suggests erupting teeth may be accompanied by drooling, biting, gum rubbing, irritability and low grade fever.  It is NOT associated with loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, cough, rash, diarrhoea, high fevers and vomiting and medical attention should be sought for these conditions.  Teeth discomfort can be helped by rubbing your infants gums with a clean finger, providing a clean cold teeth ring or wet washcloth to bite, or giving non-sweetened rusks to chew on.  There is no evidence of Bonjella or SM33 gel being effective and is more likely harmful.  Some infants have been hospitalised from use of these medications and their ingredients have been changed in the UK because of this.  Amber beads have been a noted choking hazard and the supposed benefits that they release succinic acid as a pain killer has not been able to be verified. Experiments showed no evidence of any substance release.

Bottle Feeding: Once teeth are present in the mouth they are at risk of decay.  15% of children develop baby bottle tooth decay.  One of the most important things to avoid is overnight bottle feeding with formula or sweetened fluid such as juice.

 

Hygiene: Initially clean the teeth with a soft washer and work up to a childs toothbrush.  Children’s toothpastes are available with reduced fluoride to avoid excess ingestion.

There are 4 main things to balance:
How often teeth are cleaned – everyone including children should brush at least twice per day
How well teeth are cleaned – children need parental help up to around 9 years of age
How much sugar is consumed – sticky sweets, soft drinks, fruit bars, dried fruit are high risk foods
How often sugar is in the mouth – juice in a bottle, lollipops, excessive snacking between meals

Why is sugar a problem?

Bacteria come from our parents initially via kissing and the mix of bacteria then change according to the diet.  Bad bacteria start growing on the teeth and thrive off the sugars in our food.  This sugar is fermented to acid which eats away teeth.  Avoid prolonged periods of sugars in the mouth such as milk, juice etc in a bottle overnight.  This can produce profound effects such as in the 3 year old shown below.

Age 2-4

Ideally your child should have been to the dentist or Oral Health Therapist a couple of times by the time they reach 2 yrs of age.  Earlier visits are to discover any potential problems as soon as possible and also develop some familiarity with dental visits.

Dental Visits: The more regular you can keep reviews, the more your child will find trips to the dentist a breeze as trust develops. At age 2 we like the child to see the dental visit as fun – a ride in the chair, balloon or stickers, tooth counting and a polish. We advise you to continue regular 6 monthly examinations and cleans for your child to reduce the likelihood of complex problems.

Hygiene: Children go through developmental stages in behaviour. You need to thoroughly clean your child’s teeth morning and night. The bedtime routine is most important for children. Remember children model their behaviours from their parents so we all need to keep a routine. Around 2 to 3 years of age many children become very testing of their boundaries and like to either show independence.  They often want to brush their teeth themselves, or show negativity and refuse any brushing. Consistency in behavioural habits up to this point helps greatly.

Try to brush with your child sitting between the legs and head tilted back into the lap – it allows better vision into the mouth. This age group responds well to ‘star charts’ – e.g. brushing a full 2 minutes gets a star and 5 stars per week gets a reward (the best rewards are time with parents for play or attention, and small rewards more often are better than big rewards infrequently). Effort to develop consistency and routines during this period will be much rewarded in the years to come.

Clean your child’s teeth for them with a child’s toothbrush. For children with teeth that contact each other, flossing with hand held flossettes can help greatly. Children’s toothpastes are available with reduced fluoride to avoid excess ingestion.  It is important to clean the teeth twice daily and develop good habits and your child is unable to brush independently until at least when they can tie their own shoelaces.  They do not have the developed skills often until 9 years of age.  Our Oral Health Therapist can spend the time to help show you and your child learn how to brush effectively and develop good habits.


Brush for two minutes gently covering the gum line of the teeth and the biting surfaces.

There are 4 main things to balance:
How often teeth are cleaned – everyone including children should brush at least twice per day
How well teeth are cleaned – children need parental help up to around 9 years of age
How much sugar is consumed – sticky sweets, soft drinks, fruit bars, dried fruit are high risk foods
How often sugar is in the mouth – juice in a bottle, lollipops, excessive snacking between meals

Why is sugar a problem?
Bacteria come from our parents initially via kissing and the mix of bacteria then change according to the diet. Bad bacteria start growing on the teeth and thrive off the sugars in our food. This sugar is fermented to acid which eats away teeth. Avoid prolonged periods of sugars in the mouth such as milk, juice etc in a bottle overnight. This can produce profound effects such as in the 3 year old shown below.

 

 

Trauma: Accidents do happen!  If your child has a severe knock to the head they should be assessed at the emergency department of the children’s hospital. There are many possible outcomes to trauma of deciduous teeth and some can be serious if not checked.  Even if the tooth is knocked out there could be damage to the underlying jawbone, new forming adult teeth or infection risks so we need to check as soon as possible.  Any trauma to your child is scary for the whole family – call us immediately and we can guide you on the best first aid  and long term care.

Snoring:  If your child is snoring more than a couple of time per week it is not normal and may indicate a breathing problem such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids.  This should be investigated by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist as soon as possible as this can affect adequate growth of the jaws, learning and development concerns.

Age 4-6

Children go through developmental stages in behaviour.  This age group can have a high risk of needing a filling or preventive dental care and the more frequently they have been to the dentist, the more familiar and comfortable they will be.

Dental Visits: The more regular you can keep reviews, the more your child will find trips to the dentist a breeze as trust develops.  We advise you to continue regular 6 monthly examinations and cleans for your child with the dentist or our Oral Health Therapist to reduce the likelihood of complex problems.

Hygiene: It is important to clean the teeth twice daily and develop good habits and your child is unable to brush independently until at least when they can tie their own shoelaces. They do not have the developed skills often until 9 years of age.  The bedtime routine is most important for children. Remember children model their behaviours from their parents so we all need to keep a routine. Around the age of 4 many children like to show their independence and want to brush their teeth themselves.  Encourage this behaviour and then remind them that mum or dad needs to check and finish the job.

 

For children with teeth that contact each other, flossing with hand held flosettes can help greatly. Clean your child’s teeth for them with an appropriate child’s toothbrush. Children’s toothpastes are available with reduced fluoride to avoid excess ingestion.

Our Oral Health Therapist can spend the time to help show you and your child learn how to brush effectively and develop good habits.

Brush for two minutes gently covering the gum line of the teeth and the biting surfaces.

There are 4 main things to balance:
How often teeth are cleaned – everyone including children should brush at least twice per day
How well teeth are cleaned – children need parental help up to around 9 years of age
How much sugar is consumed – sticky sweets, soft drinks, fruit bars, dried fruit are high risk foods
How often sugar is in the mouth – juice in a bottle, lollipops, excessive snacking between meals

Why is sugar a problem?
Bacteria come from our parents initially via kissing and the mix of bacteria then change according to the diet. Bad bacteria start growing on the teeth and thrive off the sugars in our food. This sugar is fermented to acid which eats away teeth. The risk is greater where food particles and bacteria can stick, such as the grooves on the biting surfaces and in between the teeth where they touch each other.  That is why flossing and brushing away food particles effectively is so important.

Fillings: Sometimes decay is unavoidable and parents should not feel guilty if this occurs. Importantly we need to address the issue early before the problem become to difficult to fix without a specialist and hospital visit.  See here for further details about Child Fillings

Trauma: Accidents do happen! If your child has a severe knock to the head they should be assessed at the emergency department of the children’s hospital. There are many possible outcomes to trauma of deciduous teeth and some can be serious if not checked. Even if the tooth is knocked out there could be damage to the underlying jawbone, new forming adult teeth or infection risks so we need to check as soon as possible. Any trauma to your child is scary for the whole family – call us immediately and we can guide you on the best first aid and long term care.

Snoring: If your child is snoring more than a couple of time per week it is not normal and may indicate a breathing problem such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids. This should be investigated by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist as soon as possible as this can affect adequate growth of the jaws, learning and development concerns.  Other signs are irritable behaviour, bed wetting, tiredness and dark circles under the eyes.

Age 6-7

Dental Visits: The more regular you can keep reviews, the more your child will find trips to the dentist a breeze as trust develops. We advise you to continue regular 6 monthly examinations and cleans for your child with the dentist or our Oral Health Therapist to reduce the likelihood of complex problems.

Hygiene: It is important to clean the teeth twice daily and develop good habits and your child is unable to brush independently until at least when they can tie their own shoelaces. They do not have the developed skills often until 9 years of age. The bedtime routine is most important for children. Remember children model their behaviours from their parents so we all need to keep a routine. At age 6 your child can start using an adult toothpaste as it has a more ideal fluoride protection.

Brush for two minutes gently covering the gum line of the teeth and the biting surfaces.

There are 4 main things to balance:
How often teeth are cleaned – everyone including children should brush at least twice per day
How well teeth are cleaned – children need parental help up to around 9 years of age
How much sugar is consumed – sticky sweets, soft drinks, fruit bars, dried fruit are high risk foods
How often sugar is in the mouth – juice in a bottle, lollipops, excessive snacking between meals

Why is sugar a problem?
Bacteria come from our parents initially via kissing and the mix of bacteria then change according to the diet. Bad bacteria start growing on the teeth and thrive off the sugars in our food. This sugar is fermented to acid which eats away teeth. The risk is greater where food particles and bacteria can stick, such as the grooves on the biting surfaces and in between the teeth where they touch each other. That is why flossing and brushing away food particles effectively is so important.

Sealants: This is the age that the adult molars start to erupt.  Often we like to be very careful in the timing of a recall exam at this age so any problems are immediately identified.  The molars are often at risk of decay in the fissures, and some even erupt with defects already on the molar (see picture).  Before bacteria grow and colonise deep into the tooth fissures and grooves it can be protective to place fissure sealants on the teeth.  These can be tooth coloured, but the pink shown below allows healing and hardening of the surface of the tooth and wears away leaving a more resilient tooth to decay.  See more information on our Dental Sealants page

             

             

Fillings: Sometimes decay is unavoidable and parents should not feel guilty if this occurs. Importantly we need to address the issue early before the problem become to difficult to fix without a specialist and hospital visit. See here for further details about Child Fillings

Trauma: Accidents do happen! If your child has a severe knock to the head they should be assessed at the emergency department of the children’s hospital. There are many possible outcomes to trauma of deciduous teeth and some can be serious if not checked. Even if the tooth is knocked out there could be damage to the underlying jawbone, new forming adult teeth or infection risks so we need to check as soon as possible. Any trauma to your child is scary for the whole family – call us immediately and we can guide you on the best first aid and long term care.  Remember mouthguards are advised for all contact sports.  Click here for details of our mouthguards.

Age 7-9

Dental Visits: The more regular you can keep reviews, the more your child will find trips to the dentist a breeze as trust develops. We advise you to continue regular 6 monthly examinations and cleans for your child with the dentist or our Oral Health Therapist to reduce the likelihood of complex problems.

Hygiene: It is important to clean the teeth twice daily and develop good habits and your child is unable to brush independently until at least when they can tie their own shoelaces. They do not have the developed skills often until 9 years of age. The bedtime routine is most important for children. Remember children model their behaviour from parents so we all need to keep a routine. At age 6 your child can start using an adult toothpaste as it has a more ideal fluoride protection.

Brush for two minutes gently covering the gum line of the teeth and the biting surfaces.

There are 4 main things to balance:
How often teeth are cleaned – everyone including children should brush at least twice per day
How well teeth are cleaned – children need parental help up to around 9 years of age
How much sugar is consumed – sticky sweets, soft drinks, fruit bars, dried fruit are high risk foods
How often sugar is in the mouth – juice in a bottle, lollipops, excessive snacking between meals

Plaque and Brushing

Plaque is a collection of bacteria growing on your teeth.  The more sugars they ferment the more acids produced that cause tooth damage, and the stickier the plaque so it is harder to brush off.  You can get Plaque Disclosing Tablets from the chemist that indicate the bacteria and help guide you where to brush more effectively.

   

Why is sugar a problem?
Bacteria come from our parents initially via kissing and the mix of bacteria then change according to the diet. Bad bacteria start growing on the teeth and thrive off the sugars in our food. This sugar is fermented to acid which eats away teeth. The risk is greater where food particles and bacteria can stick, such as the grooves on the biting surfaces and in between the teeth where they touch each other. That is why flossing and brushing away food particles effectively is so important.

Fillings: Sometimes decay is unavoidable and parents should not feel guilty if this occurs. Importantly we need to address the issue early before the problem become to difficult to fix without a specialist and hospital visit. See here for further details about Child Fillings

Adult Teeth and Orthodontic Problems

Early detection of any orthodontic problems may allow some simple solutions to be investigated to help avoid braces later on.  Age 8 is sometimes known as ‘The Ugly Duckling Phase’ because the top front teeth come through spaced and splayed out.  While this is normal and likely to self correct, it is important to keep regular examinations and get the teeth checked.  If braces in the future are likely we can asses and plan for them early. Often the adult teeth will come in front of or behind the baby teeth.  This will self correct often but should always be checked by your dentist to be sure whether intervention is required.  We also look for small upper jaws where the upper teeth sit inside the arch of the lower teeth (cross-bite.)  Untreated crossbite can lead to abnormal wear of the front teeth, future grinding and headache issues, and could be a sign of underlying breathing problems.

Trauma:  Accidents do happen! If your child has a severe knock to the head they should be assessed at the emergency department of the children’s hospital. There are many possible outcomes to trauma of deciduous teeth and some can be serious if not checked. Even if the tooth is knocked out there could be damage to the underlying jawbone, new forming adult teeth or infection risks so we need to check as soon as possible. Any trauma to your child is scary for the whole family – call us immediately and we can guide you on the best first aid and long term care.

Trauma is still common at this age.  Remember mouthguards are advised for all contact sports.  Click here for details of our mouthguards.

We advise every six months for most people.  It is what we do for ourselves!

Hygiene: Remember that not all children brush effectively or religiously. Adults included! It is important to clean the teeth twice daily and develop good habits while young. Remember children model their behaviour from parents so we all need to keep a routine.  Brush for two minutes gently covering the gum line of the teeth and the biting surfaces.

There are 4 main things to balance:
How often teeth are cleaned – everyone including children should brush at least twice per day
How well teeth are cleaned – children need parental help up to around 9 years of age
How much sugar is consumed – sticky sweets, soft drinks, fruit bars, dried fruit are high risk foods
How often sugar is in the mouth – juice in a bottle, lollipops, excessive snacking between meals
Plaque and Brushing
Plaque is a collection of bacteria growing on your teeth. The more sugars they ferment the more acids produced that cause tooth damage, and the stickier the plaque so it is harder to brush off. You can get Plaque Disclosing Tablets from the chemist that indicate the bacteria and help guide you where to brush more effectively.

If bacteria remain on the tooth as plaque for longer than 24 hours the gums start to become infected – gingivitis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Teeth and Orthodontic Problems
The position of the teeth has long term effects regarding ease of cleaning and decay risks, how the teeth meet and function or add to grinding or headache issues, and self esteem and appearance. Early detection of any orthodontic problems may allow some simple solutions to be investigated to help avoid braces later on. If braces in the future are likely we can asses and plan for them early.

Around age 12 most of the baby teeth have been lost, and the eye teeth should be coming through. It is a very important time to keep reviewing the eruption of these teeth and make sure they are not getting stuck or going off course.

Fissure Sealants
The second set of adult back molars erupt in the back of the mouth at Age 12. These teeth are at high risk of decay in the fissures, often because of a less ideal diet (sweet tooth) of younger people, and frequently less desirable hygiene. Parents often find it difficult as children develop their own autonomy to keep them on track with regular habits. Just like the 6 year old molars, we recommend protecting these high risk teeth as they erupt with fissure sealants, which can reduce the risk of a filling as much as 90%. Once a tooth is filled it is condemned to be refilled repeatedly throughout life with more and more tooth structure being lost and damaged. We strongly believe in prevention being the best approach. Further Info

Trauma: Accidents do happen! If your child has a severe knock to the head they should be assessed at the emergency department of the children’s hospital. There are many possible outcomes to trauma and some can be serious if not checked. Any trauma to your child is scary for the whole family – call us immediately and we can guide you on the best first aid and long term care.

Remember mouthguards are advised for all contact sports. Click here for details of our mouthguards.

Age 12-18

Teenagers have a tough time often with lots of changes in their life.  They often don’t find the time to brush effectively or religiously, sometimes brushing only once per day or less.  They also develop an independant income and a keen interest in soft drinks and high sugared foods – with disastrous consequences!

Keep an interest in your child’s health and dental health and maintain regular visits with the dentist.  We advise every six months for most people.  It is what we do for ourselves!

If bacteria remain on the tooth as plaque for longer than 24 hours the gums start to become infected – gingivitis.

 

Adult Teeth and Orthodontic Problems
The position of the teeth has long term effects regarding ease of cleaning and decay risks, how the teeth meet and function or add to grinding or headache issues, and self esteem and appearance. Early detection of any orthodontic problems may allow some simple solutions to be investigated to help avoid braces later on. If braces in the future are likely we can asses and plan for them early. By age 13 most of the baby teeth have been lost, and the eye teeth should be coming through.

For teenagers with braces good oral hygiene and regular visits with your general dentist or hygienist is essential.

Trauma: Accidents do happen! If your child has a severe knock to the head they should be assessed at the emergency department of the children’s hospital. There are many possible outcomes to trauma and some can be serious if not checked. Any trauma to your child is scary for the whole family – call us immediately and we can guide you on the best first aid and long term care.

Remember mouthguards are advised for all contact sports. Click here for details of our mouthguards.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can start to some through anytime from age 17 usually.  While it is just another tooth, manytimes the wisdom tooth gets stuck behind the other molars or in the jaw (impacted).  This can lead to pain and infection, or damage to the adjacent teeth and bone.  The wisdom teeth should be assessed around this age with an X-ray as once the roots fully develop the teeth may become more complicated to deal with if any problems occur.  Knowing any potential issues early is better than a trip to the emergency department. Further Info

For more information on teething and oral hygiene for infants visit the Australian Dental Associations information page Protecting Tiny Teeth