Many children find brushing their teeth difficult and often miss those hard to reach teeth at the back of their mouths. We advise that parents keep a close eye on their children’s brushing techniques at least until they are seven years old and encourage them to brush twice a day for two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste.
Mums and dads should brush their teeth at the same time to lead by example and illustrate good brushing actions – but make sure you are teaching them wisely. Ask your dentist or hygienist for a tooth brushing master-class to make sure you aren’t passing on bad habits!
Some 31 per cent of children starting school have tooth decay and a third of children aged 12 have visible dental decay. Visiting the dentist annually reduces the risk of tooth decay by 60 per cent.
As well as regular brushing and frequent visits to your dentist, there is another way to help prevent decay in children’s mouths – applying sealants can protect the biting surfaces of the teeth.
These are known as pit or fissure sealants and they work by filling the tiny grooves in the back teeth with a protective plastic barrier that makes the tooth surface smoother and the teeth easier to clean. A smooth surface means it is more difficult for food to get stuck in the ‘pits’ and therefore helps prevent decay from starting.
Applying a fissure sealant is painless and the tooth will feel the same afterwards. Sealants can last for many years but they do need checking by a dentist to ensure the seal hasn’t been damaged and that no decay can form underneath. Sealants can be applied as soon as the adult teeth have come through, usually between the ages of six and seven.
Help your child avoid becoming one of the 84 per cent of all adults who have at least one or more filling – speak to your dentist at Mckenzies Dental Surgery in Sevenoaks about fissure sealants.
What does treatment involve?
We will work out which fissures are deep enough to require sealing, then clean and prepare the tooth with a special solution. After the tooth has dried, the liquid sealant is applied and the hardening process will be speeded up with the help of a bright light.
When should it be done?
Sealants are normally applied on young permanent teeth as they start to come through (usually between 6-7 years) then will continue to be applied as and when the teeth pop up – so any time between 11 and 14 years of age.
Do I still have to clean my teeth?
Yes of course – and with a smooth, sealed surface they will be much easier to keep nice and clean!