Tooth decay in children is on the rise in Australia. Children aged 5 to 10 have an average of one and a half decayed, missing or filled baby teeth. With young children most at risk from tooth decay, it’s more important than ever to learn about paediatric dental care and teach your child good oral health habits that will stay with them for life.

Dental care for babies

Many babies begin teething at around 3 months old, with the first teeth usually appearing at around 6 to 9 months. By the age of 1, a baby will usually have around 8 teeth.

You should begin cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as they arrive. To begin with, you can clean your baby’s teeth by wiping with a soft cloth or brushing with a soft toothbrush and water. From the age of 18 months, you can start using a low-fluoride toothpaste when you brush your child’s teeth.

You can buy toothpaste and small-headed toothbrushes especially for babies or children at your local pharmacy or supermarket. You will need to clean your baby or child’s teeth until they are old enough to do it themselves. This is usually around the age of 7 years.

It’s important for your child to get into a regular oral hygiene routine to prevent tooth decay. Babies can be affected by tooth decay as soon as their first teeth arrive. The first signs of decay often appear as white spots or lines on the front teeth.

Take your baby to visit the dentist as soon as their teeth begin to appear so that the dentist can check their teeth are developing as they should.

What happens on my child’s or toddlers dental visit?

On toddler dentist visits, we’ll check their teeth using a dental mirror to make sure they’re all coming through normally and look for any signs of decay or cavities. As they get more confident on return visits, we’ll also examine their jaw and the soft tissues of the mouth and throat.

From the age of 6, your child’s paediatric dentist will also start to check for signs of crowding or other possible orthodontic problems that could affect them when their permanent teeth develop. We also give children and their families advice about how to look after their teeth at home and lower their dental health risks.

Preventive dentistry for kids

As well as checking their teeth, your kid’s dentist may recommend a preventive dental treatment to help protect them against decay or other problems. These might include:

Fluoride treatments

If your child is at high risk of tooth decay, we may recommend a fluoride treatment.

Fluoride is applied to the tooth surfaces after professional teeth cleaning. This naturally occurring substance helps to strengthen teeth against the bacteria that forms plaque and causes tooth decay.

Fissure sealing

If your child has pits or grooves on the biting surfaces of their teeth, we may recommend fissure sealants.

Sports mouthguards

Kids who play sport or other outdoor activities should wear a mouth guard.

Your child’s dentist can design a custom mouthguard that fits perfectly over their teeth to lower the risk of serious injuries and dental emergencies.

What if my child needs a dental treatment?

If a paediatric dentist notices signs of tooth decay or another problem, they’ll discuss the corrective treatments they think could help. Depending on the problem, they may recommend:

White fillings

White fillings fill cavities in teeth to restore their normal shape and function, without affecting their appearance. Kids dentistry typically uses high quality glass-ionomer fillings that also release fluoride over time, helping to protect your child’s restored teeth from further damage.

Root canals

Root canal therapy may be needed if tooth decay reaches the centre of your child’s tooth, infecting the soft tissues of the dental pulp. This can cause severe pain and sensitivity if the infection isn’t removed. The only alternative to a root canal is usually extracting the tooth.

Extractions

Your children’s dentist will always find ways to save a tooth when we can, but sometimes the damage is too severe and the only option is extraction. If a permanent tooth needs to be extracted, we’ll recommend filling the gap to prevent nearby teeth from going crooked.


Paediatric Dental Care in Caddens, Penrith

We are dedicated to making little people feel comfortable in the dental practice! We have a kids’ corner with plenty of engaging activities, like colouring-in books and games. Kids also get take-home goodie bags or “prizes” after their appointment. This sees our little patients eagerly awaiting their next visit to the dentist.

Our dental services are designed to prevent tooth decay in your child’s teeth and to avoid dental surgery later in life. We perform all children’s general dentistry, including their first dental visit, and some cosmetic dentistry.

If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, or you want to know more about preventative dental treatments, call our team at The Caddens Dental Bar on (02) 9159 3955.