Summary: At around 8 months of age, your child teeth will start to erupt. It is important that your child has a good diet and that sugar intake is controlled. From age 5 the adult teeth start to erupt into the mouth starting with the molar teeth. From this point it is even more important to ensure that your child has good oral health as there will be no second chances.

Good oral health can be achieved by controlling your childs sugar intake, using fluoride products and good toothpaste instruction.

Diet

Try and keep sugar drinks and sweets down to a minimum and only give them after main meals at dinner time and lunchtime. See the diet section for more info.

Feeding Bottles

Avoid sugary drinks in feeding bottles as the child drinks slowly and the time of sugar exposure is greatly increased. Giving these bottles at bedtime can quickly lead to the childs teeth becoming decayed because during sleep very little saliva flows which normally helps protect our teeth from the acid. A common sign is for the upper teeth to become decayed first as the lowers are protected by the tongue. This complaint is termed 'bottle caries' by dentists.

Eruption of the Adult Teeth.

From around the age of five the adult teeth start to erupt into the mouth. The first adult teeth are the first molars and they take position behind the baby teeth. The next teeth to erupt are the upper and lower incisors. As the adult teeth erupt the baby teeth will become loose until they fall out.

Fluoride

In certain areas, fluoride is present in the drinking water. This may be a natural occurence in some places but generally it is added by the water companies. The advantage of fluoride is that it helps protect the teeth against tooth decay.It has been found that level of dental decay is lower in areas with fluoride when compared with those areas without fluoride.

In areas without fluoridation, childrens teeth can still be protected as fluoride may be given either as drops or tablets that are chewed. A small band of experts are concerned about the effect of fluoride, as in high quantites it may cause a mottling of the teeth. This appears as white speckles and may be considered unattractive when it occurs on the front teeth. The risk of this occuring can be reduced by careful monitoring of your childs fluoride intake.

Fissure Sealants

Decay usually starts on the top surfaces of the back teeth, at the base of the fissures. A good prevention measure in children is to seal these fissures with a special white varnish called a 'Fissure Sealant'. No drilling of the tooth is required as the sealant is just painted on then set with a special light.

Teething

Teething refers to the symptoms which may be experienced by children when a tooth erupts. Teething can be uncomfortable for some children, they may be grumpy and have a high temperature. Soft teething rings can help as they encourage the gum to break open and let the teeth pass through. Teething gels are available which contain an aspirin product which helps dull the pain.

Decayed Teeth

It is important that your childs teeth are kept in good a health and free from decay. The enamel on childrens teeth is thinner than that on the adult dentition and the inside may become exposed much more quickly. For this reason your child should visit the dentist every six months.

Losing Baby Teeth

From around the age of 6, baby teeth start to be replaced by the adult dentition. The child should be encouraged to wiggle the teeth as on some occasions the baby teeth may become stuck and cause the adult teeth to be pushed to one side.