ASK THE DENTIST
1. WHEN SHOULD WE BEGIN USING TOOTHPASTE AND HOW MUCH?
A very small amount of toothpaste recommended for the child's age group can be used as soon as teething starts. A soft toothbrush for applying this, combined with a regular daily routine, goes a long way towards establishing positive lifelong oral hygiene habits
2. HOW DO I KNOW MY CHILDREN ARE GETTING THE RIGHT FOOD FOR THEIR TEETH?
This is quite simple really- sugar is public enemy No1. While it is relatively easy to identify sugary foods, it is less straightforward to recognise foods with hidden sugars in them: almost all processed and preserved food, sauces such as ketchup and barbecue sauce, frozen vegetables, fruit juices – including those which declare "no added sugar", and also all carbohydrates which are broken down by saliva into sugars.
While it is impossible, impractical and even unnecessary to eliminate sugar totally from a child's diet, it is imperative to limit the number of times teeth come into contact with sugar during the course of a day. Identifying foods with hidden sugar in them should be relatively easy to achieve
3. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD FALLS AND KNOCKS OUT A TOOTH WHETHER IT IS A PERMANENT OR BABY TOOTH?
When a tooth is knocked out of its place completely, acting speedily is essential. Do not rinse the tooth but place it in fresh milk and call the the dentist immediately. Should milk not be available, place the tooth between cheek and gum. Generally permanent teeth can be treated and fitted back in their place. The dentist can decide whether to re-fit baby teeth or not, usually depending on how close the tooth is to being changed. If it cannot be re-fitted, the baby tooth can easily be used for stem-cell harvesting
4. HOW CAN I MAKE MY CHILD MORE COMFORTABLE ABOUT VISITING THE DENTIST?
Start them early! Children can be taken for their first check–up as soon as the first baby teeth are through. For most, these early checks serve as familiarisation visits and the child will never associate their dentist with discomfort. They also serve to inform parents about the state of oral hygiene of their child. Where discomfort is already present- toothache, accidents etc –, it is imperative to avoid negative statements "this won't hurt a bit……" and encourage the child throughout any procedures "you'll feel better soon…."