children’s teeth

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When should you bring your child to the dentist?

Opinions vary on the recommended age for a first dental check-up. Within my own practice, I recommend parents bring their child along for their first visit before the age of three. Before this, I also encourage parents to bring their child along when having their own routine check-ups or with their older siblings. This helps to normalise the experience, so the child knows what to expect and lets me have a quick look to screen for any problems.

It is very important to see the child’s teeth before the adult teeth start to erupt around 6. If there is decay in the baby teeth before this age we need to consider any changes that should be made to reduce sugar in the diet. It is also worth planning to fissure seal the adult first molar teeth, to protect them,  if this is the case.

A first dental visit should fun. Tell the child that they will get a ride in the magic chair and that they will have their teeth counted. Bringing a favourite soft toy along can be very helpful. I often examine a teddy or dolls mouth first before I look at the child’s. Seeing what will happen beforehand can help the child prepare them for  what is involved. Sitting on a parent’s knee can also help relax a nervous child.

It is important to be as positive as you can in advance of the visit. There are several books about visiting the dentist that can also be helpful. We have copies of ‘Topsy and Tim Go to the Dentist’ in the waiting room. The first visit to the dentist episode of Peppa pig is also mentioned on a regular basis. Giving young children an idea of what’s to come helps to reduce any anxiety that they may have. We give young children stickers at the end of the appointment to reinforce that the appointment has been a positive experience.

I am happy to see most children once a year for a check-up unless there is a specific problem or issue which I would like to review sooner.

Swords-dental Tel 8401001

Choosing Toothpaste for Children

Choosing toothpaste for your child

For a child under two we recommend a small infant toothbrush with just tap water. Mains water is fluoridated in Ireland and this provides enough fluoride until a toddler is old enough to spit out (usually around their second birthday).

After this age the recommendation is for a toothpaste over 1000ppm fluoride. You can check this on the label.

The label below shows the fluoride content to be 1450ppm. Always check the tube as they vary greatly. Note that the same brand can have different fluoride concentrations.


For children up to seven years of age use a smear of toothpaste:


Always supervise brushing and ensure it is spat out. Don’t rinse out afterwards.

Bottle Decay

Even though they are temporary, your child’s baby teeth are important. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as bottle decay. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a nice smile. Their first teeth also help make sure their adult teeth come in the correct position. It’s important to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for the years to come.

What Causes Bottle Decay?

Bottle Decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

There are many factors: one common cause is the frequent exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle. Tooth decay is a disease that can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the parent to the infant. These bacteria are passed through saliva. When the parent puts an item such as the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth the bacteria could be passed to the baby.

If your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of Fluoride,  they may also have an increased risk for tooth decay.  The good news is that decay is preventable.

Preventing  Bottle Decay

  • Try not to share saliva with the baby .
  • When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and a smear of Fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3.
  • Brush the teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste from the ages of 3 to 6.
  • Supervise brushing until your child can be relied on to spit and not swallow toothpaste—usually not before he or she is 6 or 7.
  • Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime bottles before going to bed.
  • If your child uses a soother, provide one that is clean—never dip it in something sweet!
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits.

When your child’s first teeth appear, consider bringing them for their first dental visit. Starting early is the key to a lifetime of good dental health.

Fissure Sealants

Fissure Sealants

The adult first permanent molar teeth tend to come into the mouth at just six years old. This is a critical period for protecting them because the diet between 6-12 tends to have higher levels of sugar. We often find that when people need to have more extensive dental treatment later in life, e.g root canal treatments or crowns, it can be linked back to damage that started soon after these particular teeth erupted in to the mouth.

We can protect the molar teeth from decay by putting a white plastic coating on the tooth soon after it comes into the mouth, called a fissure sealant. The coating plugs the natural depressions and grooves on the tooth’s biting surface called pits and fissures. This helps to protect the teeth from acid attack after eating sugar (dental decay). This procedure is a particularly good idea if there has been any problems with decay in the baby teeth or if the molar teeth have deep grooves.

The procedure is very straightforward- we dry the tooth, place a conditioning agent on it which we then wash off soon after and then apply the sealant and shine the curing light on the area to set it. Placing fissure sealants is a very straight forward and painless process and can often help to boost the child’s confidence if they are nervous about visiting the dentist. Sealants can also be placed by Dental Hygienists.
To make an appointment give us a call at on 8401001.