[Infographic] Caring for your child’s teeth

Dentist at Bupa UK
04 May 2017

I often get asked by parents how to care for their child’s teeth correctly. And this is reassuring – oral care in children is something that should be considered from a very young age. Teaching proper oral hygiene will help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy into adulthood.

A little girls' smile, with a missing tooth

When to start brushing

Caring for your child’s teeth should start as soon as their first teeth come through, which is usually around six months old. Remember, although your child loses their baby (milk) teeth to make way for adult teeth, it’s important to avoid early tooth loss. This is because it can affect their speech and other functions of their mouth, such as smiling and chewing. Early tooth loss also impacts how their adult teeth come through and look. This is because baby teeth act as ‘space setters’ for adult teeth.

Below is a simple infographic containing some basic, but very important information when it comes to caring for your child’s teeth.

An infographic from Bupa UK on how to care for your child's teeth

You can download a PDF copy of our infographic on how to care for your child's teeth here.

What to do if your child knocks out a tooth

It’s something many parents dread, and it is common. But if your child knocks out a tooth, don’t panic. If it’s an adult (permanent) tooth, there’s a good chance it can be saved by following these basics steps.

  1. Pick the tooth up by the crown – don’t touch the root.
  2. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with water, or lick it if there is no clean water available.
  3. Immediately reinsert the tooth back in position. Remember, this is only for adult teeth. Never try to reinsert a baby tooth. This usually means for any child under six.
  4. Bite down on a handkerchief, or a piece of cloth or fabric, to hold it in place.
  5. Go straight to your dentist. If it’s out of your dental surgery’s hours, go to your nearest accident and emergency department.

If the knocked-out tooth is a baby tooth, don’t reinsert the tooth, but still contact your dentist. They will want to examine the area for any broken pieces of tooth. Unfortunately, a knocked-out baby tooth can’t be saved or replaced – all you can do is wait for the adult tooth to come through.

Broken or chipped teeth

Children are active and adventurous, so unfortunately broken and chipped teeth are often part and parcel of childhood. However, pieces of broken tooth can sometimes be glued back into position, so make sure you take the fragment to your dentist, if you can find it.

If your child plays a contact sport, such as rugby, it’s a good idea to invest in a mouth guard to help reduce their chance of having a tooth knocked out or chipped.

The bottom line is to always seek advice from your dentist if you have any concerns about your child’s teeth or general oral health. Make sure your child attends appointments regularly from a young age to get him or her used to the environment and for anything problematic to be picked up sooner rather than later.

Dr Anne Heelan
Dentist at Bupa UK

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