Melbourne Dental Practice

Children and The Dentist

Children and The DentistGood habits begin when we are young, so getting children into a routine for looking after their teeth is important.

Diet

Sugary drinks and snacks are the commonest cause of dental decay. This is the same for any adult. Children should avoid sweet food and drink especially between meals. Snacking allows a constant flow of sugary saliva over the teeth, which will damage them, and cause decay. It is best to allow children therefore to finish their snack all at once rather than to allow them a little at a time throughout the day. Sweets should not be used as a reward or bribery tool.

Be aware of hidden sugars in lots of food stuffs, such as baked beans and ketchup. Also labels on foods saying 'no added sugar' should be viewed with caution as there is still sugar present (sometimes in high concentration), but the manufacturer has not added any more.

Fizzy drinks, even the diet ones, need to be avoided as well. These are very acidic and this will cause the teeth to be worn away, like acid rain on some buildings! Even the fizzy waters have this problem.

Teething

Teething-babies normally start to get their teeth at 6 months. Baby teeth will continue to erupt until the age of 2-3 years. Every child is unique and these figures represent the average. Some children can become quite unwell during teething and may have a facial rash and quite often drool. Some children may develop a fever and diarrhoea. It is very important to keep a close eye on your child's body temperature when a fever is present.

If a fever does occur ensure the child is kept cool, i.e. thin clothes, damp cloth to face and body, fan. Sugar free paracetamol and/or ibuprofen suspension can be given to ease the symptoms. Be aware of the dosage over any 24 hour period. Seek professional help if you are unable to control temperatures above 40 degrees or become more concerned. Keep your child hydrated by giving constant fluids and stick to a soft diet.

Thumb\Dummy sucking

Many children seek comfort by sucking their fingers, thumbs or dummies. Unfortunately, if this habit continues past the early years it can effect the position and appearance of the adult teeth. Parents can play an active role by monitoring the habit and weaning children off the habit.

Sportsguards.

Many children suffer trauma to their teeth during sports. This can be a very painful experience and could result in permanent damage or loss of teeth. Sportguards offer superior protection by cushioning the blow to the teeth thus protecting both teeth and soft tissue ( lips, cheeks and gums). Most schools now insist on children wearing gumshields when playing sport. We can provide these, in a range of colours, to try to prevent damage. For those children undergoing orthodontic treatment, whose teeth are moving very rapidly, we have a range of specially designed gumshields to fit over their brace.