Parents want the best for their kids and this includes making sure they’re doing everything they can to look after their oral health. However, unfortunately NHS data shows that families in the U.K. are falling short when it comes to their children’s milk teeth, as the number of kids under 10 undergoing treatment in hospital because of tooth decay is double to that of broken arms!

Many parents view milk teeth as “practice teeth” before they get their adult ones through, however it is vital to look after them as they DO matter. Milk teeth help with adult tooth alignment, the health of permanent teeth, speech and facial development, proper health and nutrition and your child’s self-esteem.

When do I start cleaning my child’s teeth?

A good oral hygiene routine should start even before your baby has their first tooth. Wipe their gums with a damp, soft muslin cloth to keep them clean. When you see the first sighting of a little tooth, make sure to use a small smear of toothpaste and brush the teeth (or tooth) twice a day. This is also a great time to also come and see us for their first dental visit, or before their first birthday.

Do I leave my kids to it?

We recommend that parents should supervise and help their child brush their teeth until at least the age of seven, making sure that they are doing it thoroughly for two minutes, twice a day as well as floss. Making it routine from a young age will mean they’re more likely to continue well into adulthood.

How can I limit their sugar intake?

It’s no surprise that sugar causes tooth decay. However it’s not always the amount of sugar in sweet food and drinks but also how long and often the teeth are in contact with sugar. For example lollipops and sweet drinks in formula bottles are particularly damaging as they bathe the teeth in sugar for long periods of time.

Try to swap sugary snacks and meals for healthier alternatives, for example sugary branded cereal can be replaced by plain porridge and fruit roll-up snacks can be replaced by fresh fruit.

When should my child lose milk teeth?

When your child reaches five or six years old, they will start to lose their baby teeth to make room for their adult teeth. This process takes years (with lots of trips by the tooth fairy!) and by the age of 12 to 14, most children have lost all their baby teeth and have their adult teeth.

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