Does Your Child Have Healthy Teeth?

If you read the news or listen to the headlines on the radio or television, you may have come across pieces about children’s oral health of late. New statistics have revealed that a significant proportion of young children in the UK suffer from tooth decay, but how do you know if your child has healthy teeth, and what can you do to try and keep them free from cavities?

Signs of dental decay

Dental decay is caused by bacteria, and the main risk factors are a poor diet and poor oral hygiene. Studies show that children today consume much more sugar than in previous generations and this is undoubtedly impacting on standards of oral health. The most common signs of dental problems among children include toothache, the appearance of holes in the tooth surface (cavities), staining, and weakness in the tooth. Children who have dental problems may complain of pain, avoid using one side of the mouth when they eat or cry when they use the tooth. Sometimes it’s possible to see the holes in the tooth.

The best way to find out if your child’s teeth are healthy is to take them to a local Children's Dental Clinic for regular check-ups. Dentists are trained to spot signs of decay and they will be able to talk to you about your child’s oral health. If your child does have cavities, they can then discuss the treatment options with you. Ideally, children should visit a dentist every 6 months from the age of 12-18 months.

Preventing dental issues in children

There are some really simple ways to protect children from dental decay, including:

  • take children for regular check-ups
  • limit your child’s sugar intake; it’s particularly important to avoid sweet treats between meals
  • stick to milk, water and sugar-free cordial. Try to avoid shop-bought smoothies, fruit juices and fizzy drinks, as they contain a lot of sugar
  • encourage children to brush their teeth twice a day from an early age. Supervise brushing to ensure that they brush their teeth properly
  • swap children’s toothbrushes on a regular basis
  • encourage your child to learn about dental health
  • ensure your child gets enough calcium. This is really important for strong, healthy teeth
  • ask your dentist about preventative dental treatments, such as fissure sealants and fluoride varnish
  • speak to your dentist if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s dental health
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