Childsmile is a preventive initiative with the intention of improving oral health from birth. Parents of newborn children who are assessed to be at risk of developing tooth decay are referred to the programme by their Health Visitor. Parents attend an appointment with the Childsmile Nurse, where advice is given on how to avoid the development of tooth decay. As well as advice on diet and toothbrushing, parents will also be given free toothbrushes, toothpaste and drinking cups for their children. As children get older, the Dental Practice Team can provide additional preventive care, such as fluoride varnish and fissure sealants. This programme results in children with healthier mouths who are more comfortable visiting the dentist
Why are first teeth important?
First teeth (or milk teeth/baby teeth) are important for a child’s smile, eating, speech and confidence.
It is important to keep teeth healthy to avoid pain, infection and the need to take teeth out under general anesthetic.
It is important to keep teeth until they fall out naturally (the last baby tooth will not normally fall out until the child is about 12 years old).
Early loss of milk teeth can lead to crowding when adult teeth come into the mouth. This may lead to a need for orthodontic treatment in later years.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay starts as minor damage to the surface of teeth, but often worsens to the stage of becoming holes in teeth.
In simple terms, decay is caused when bugs on our teeth (in that sticky layer or film called plaque) use the sugars in foods and drinks and turn these into acids which dissolve the surface of the teeth. The more often that we eat or drink sugary things, the more often acid is produced and the more damage is caused to our teeth. The best way to look after teeth is to avoid giving your child anything that has sugar in it to eat or drink between meals
Toothbrush & Toothpaste – which kind?
Use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles.
Put a thin smear of standard fluoride toothpaste (1000ppm fluoride) onto a dry brush.
Imagine you are painting the toothpaste on!
Eventually encourage spitting out of excess toothpaste but discourage rinsing the mouth with water. This helps the fluoride toothpaste work harder to strengthen the teeth.
Replace the baby’s toothbrush every 3 months or when the bristles start to splay out.
Rinse the toothbrush after every use and store in a clean dry area.
Use the baby toothbrush and 1000ppm fluoride toothpaste provided through Childsmile. This toothpaste is suitable for the whole family.