7 BRUSHING YOUR TEETH IS MORE FUN.....................WITH

7 BRUSHING YOUR TEETH IS MORE FUN.....................WITH
Tra
lala
7 BRUSHING YOUR TEETH IS MORE FUN.....................WITH A SONG
DON'T FORGET
STEP 1
Tra
lal
Tr a
al
al
a
the timer mirror
put the toothpaste on your toothbrush
and sing the tooth-brushing song
at the top of your voice
brush for 2 minutes
.. .
R
R
.
SC R R R
.
SC
R
(first practise singing it to the tune of Frère Jacques)
2
p
e
t
s
SC
. ..
step 3
R
...RINSE...RINSE
R IN S E
Brushing nicely,
brushing nicely,
Back and forth,
back and forth,
Inside, surface, outside,
Inside, surface, outside,
And again, and again.
RR
.. . .
outside...
inside
...
e...
c
a
f
sur
SM WITH A R
A LL B EA K E
O F W AT E R
PRACTISE SINGING IT TO THE
EO
N
TU
CQ U
A
J
RE
e
R
FF
ES
8 THE DENTIST'S............................................................chair hee hee...
.
.
.
e
e
TRRRRRR
I lo ve
fruit!
Do you?
EC
K
e
e
e
e
e
e
The dentist turns round. “Oh, hello,” he says. “Do you want a ride too?” A
surprised Kate walks to the chair. “I just have to check your teeth first,” says the
dentist. First have a look to see if it’s safe. Kate, still
astonished, opens her mouth. The dentist taps gently
. ..
G
against her teeth here and there. “Passed,” he says
IN
seriously. “Now hold tight. Off we go.”
CH
Z
e
e
e
e
e
eee
JU
ST
z
zz
z
z
z
r
rro h,
i
r, m out eeth g?
o
r
m t n
r
Mi my ack stro
in y b and
em d
ar goo
o
als
“See you in a minute,” says Kevin. He closes the dentist’s door behind him.
Kate is reading a book in the waiting room. At first it’s quiet. Then suddenly
she hears a terrible noise: “Zzzzzzz.” It sounds awful. Then she hears it
again. But now what? What can Kate hear now? “haheeheeheehahaha!”
She can hear someone laughing really loudly. How mean! The dentist is
laughing at him. “Zzzzzzz!” Kate jumps up bravely. “I have to go and save my
friend!” she thinks. She opens the door and there is Kevin lying in the chair
and shrieking with laughter. The big chair is going up and down. ”Zzzzzz,
zzzzzzz!”
USE ME A LOT AND SAVE THE DENTIST A LOT OF WORK
Kate flies up and down in the chair
laughing her head off. When they are
outside again Kate says: ”It’s a pity we
have to wait another 6 months now.
This is even better than the fair!”
....
hee hee
ha ha....
hee ha.
...
8 VISIT TO THE...........................................................DENTIST hee hee...
z
zz
z
z
z
Z
ee.
TRRRRRR
I’m at the dentist’s. Have you ever sat
in the dentist’s chair? And, did you like
it? You may also have noticed that the
dentist has a lot of different kinds of
tools.
A little mirror, so that he can look at
the back of your teeth. Little hammers
and drills. And a small hook to prize out
nasty bits from between your teeth.
IN MY MOU
OR
TH, A
R
BOTH HEAL
THY A E MY
ND
T
W
H
TH
EE ?
E
IT
e
e
e
e
..eee
MIRROR , M
I RR
Sometimes the dentist gives you a little coloured
pill to chew. The coloured spots on your teeth show
you where they are not completely clean.
My dentist has left all kind of tools lying around
and now he can’t find them.
Can you point to what he needs.
G
A IN
NT SH E
A U AT
R
I W H-B FIC .
I
OT RT OO
TO CE T
pretender
t
s
!
be
.......certificate!
...
che cheep ep...
ep..
che
.
I’m
t
“Look Kate,” says Kevin. “I have a tooth-brushing certificate.” Kevin shows her a beautiful
piece of paper and Kate looks at it. “What’s a certificate?” she asks. “If you are really good at
something, you get a certificate,” says Kevin. “So I’m good at brushing my teeth. Just look.” His
name is on the paper and a photo of Toothsie the toothbrush fairy. “Do you want to
come and have something nice to eat this afternoon?” asks Kevin looking at Kate
for an answer. Kate nods. “See you later then,” says Kevin, and he walks away.
he
9 the pretend.....................................
uw...
o
a
i
mw...
o
a
mi u miao
uw.
..
When they arrive at Kevin’s house Kate
suddenly takes the picture out of her
bag. “I have a tooth-brushing certificate
too,” she says. Kate rolls out her drawing
and shows her homemade certificate.
Mummy has to laugh.
home vi
a the pa
rk
2,3
grandm
a’s hous
Oh dear. Kate wants a certificate too. But she’ll have
to learn to brush her teeth properly first. After lunch
they are going to Kevin’s house. “What’s that in your
bag?” mummy asks. “Oh nothing special,” replies Kate.
“A picture for Kevin.” “That’s nice of you,”
mummy says to Kate stroking her on the head.
EN WE GET HOME I'LL
OH KATE, WH
GIVE YO
U A...
very special certificate, a certificate that you really deserve. I’ll give you
a PRETEND CERTIFICATE. If you are really good at something, you get a
certificate. And when it comes to pretending, you really are the best.
e 4,0
tooth-brushing
certificate
party 2,3
kevin’s house
2,3
9 THE TOOTH-BRUSHING CERTIFICATE!
!
WOW AT
TH
S
’
T
WHA ERING
T
GLIT RE?
THE
Wow! What’s that glittering there? Is it my ring? Or ...is it your
teeth that are gleaming so brightly?
I can see. Your calendar is almost full.
to mo ve hous
FANTaST
IC
Time
e!
With such a clean mouth you deserve a real tooth-brushing
certificate, and not a pretend one like Kate. Show it to your
dentist next time you visit. Then he’ll sign it for you.
ONS!
I
T
A
L
U
T
CONGRA
..
Scrrr..
Bye
, I’m
going t
o
look for another mouth
!
Cut out from the back of the book and proudly show it to everyone…
10 THE MAGIC...............................................................TEETH!
OT
H
Kevin has a wobbly tooth. He can wiggle it around
in all directions. “Not long to go and it’ll come
out,” he says proudly. “Then I can put it under my
pillow and I’ll get a present from Tessa the tooth
fairy.” Kate is sitting on the sofa with grandma
and they are both looking at Kevin’s wobbly tooth.
Kate feels her own teeth. They won’t budge
at all. “Do you think my teeth will wobble one
day?” she asks grandma. “Of course they will,”
says grandma. “It will just happen one day when
you’re a bit bigger.” “And what about your teeth,
grandma?” asks Kate. Grandma laughs. “I have
magic teeth.
I HAVE A OBBLY TOO
W
e..
hee he
...
ha ha.
TH
...!
s
t
sen
e
Pr nts...!
se
Pre
BUDGE!
WON'T
dr
ea
Y
BL
OB
W
A
VE
I HA
TO
BLE WOBBLE
ma
WOB
e
Pr
B
BBLE
You know this already, don’t you? Grandma can
take her teeth out of her mouth and put them in a
glass.” When Kate is lying in her bed that night, she
can’t stop thinking about the tooth fairy and Kevin’s
wobbly tooth. I want a present now! Not later! She
thinks very hard and then... she jumps up out of
bed. Quietly she creeps into the guest bedroom. She
reaches for the bedside cupboard and then walks
quietly back to her own room. “Right...I’m sure I
can borrow them for one night,” Kate thinks and she
quickly puts grandma’s teeth under her pillow. That
night Kate dreams about fairies and lovely presents.
All thanks to grandma’s magic teeth.
.!
ts..
n
se
W
OB
WO
LE
an
k
c
Ba
ack and forth...
b
.
.
.
h
ort
df
Presents...!
n
ka
c
Ba
nd forth...
back a
.
.
.
h
ort
df
c
gi
te
eth
m
.
am
e
r
.. .d
10 TESSA.....................................................THE TOOTH FAIRY!
HelLo!
the tooth fair
essa
y,
t
m
an
i'
t
o
h
o
t
d
f
or
your
swap
i'l
se
ri
Has the time come? Has your first tooth come
out? It takes a bit of getting used to, doesn’t it,
having a gap in your mouth like that? Luckily it
won’t be long before a splendid big grown-up’s
tooth comes through. Be quick – put your baby
tooth under your pillow, and you never know I
may pay you a visit.
l
as
ur
p
R !
OU RISE
Y
PS RP OTH
A
U
SW A S E TO UT
SSA R TH E O TE
TE H FO CK OM DA
OT BA S C THE K!
TO LD T HA IN AC
T
FO HA FILL E B ...
HA H
H
.
T
T D
T
D
T US
AN ON AN RGE BR TH
O O EE
T F VE T ’S T
’
P
N A
DO U H N-U O!
YO OW TO
GR
INTRODUCtIoN
T
his part of the Clean Teeth Book is for parents. With this
book Difrax aims to give parents a bit more background
information about taking care of their small children’s
teeth. The information is intended as advice, and so it does not
contain hard and fast rules. We hope you can use it as a general
guide, or as a source of help if you are having specific problems with
looking after your child’s teeth.
We always advise parents to follow their own instincts. Parents know
their own child best and no two children are the same. So just extract
the information from the book that you yourself find useful. Happy
reading and tooth-brushing!
contents
foreword The book is intended for all children: so where it says “he” you can
introduction also read “she”.
48
It is impossible to start good oral hygiene habits too young. As soon
as the first tooth comes through, you can start the most important
oral hygiene routine: tooth-brushing. Not on day 1, of course, when
the gums can still be extra sensitive, but soon afterwards. Introduce
tooth-brushing as a game, using either a normal toothbrush or a
silicon fingertip toothbrush. The sooner children get used to the
routine and the equipment, the more normal they will find it.
48
48
development of the teeth 50
care of the teeth 52
equipment and materials 54
what parents need to know (with step by step plan) 55
do’s and don’ts (the biggest pitfalls) 59
the dentist 61
soothers and thumb-sucking
63
first aid for accidents to the mouth and other problems with teeth 64
myths 67
toothsie the toothbrush fairy and tessa the tooth fairy 68
useful information and addresses
69
afterword 70
49
brush their teeth.
To help you with this, we have written a “Step-by-step plan for
learning to brush your own teeth”, which, together with the
calendars and reward stickers, should help your child to enjoy
brushing their teeth more.
When the first molars start to appear, start brushing twice a day
if you are not doing so already. Brush teeth as part of the morning
ritual of getting dressed – preferably before breakfast. That cleans
your child’s teeth and prepares them to cope well with the acid
attack that is the inevitable consequence of eating. If you prefer to
brush their teeth after breakfast, then wait at least 30 minutes. The
teeth need that time to recover naturally from the acid attack
(see my more detailed explanation later). Brush teeth for the second
time after the last meal. You do this to prevent food residues
working on your child’s tooth enamel all through the night.
The milk teeth need to be taken seriously, and the more parents
realise this the better. We could talk about this all day, but it
wouldn’t alter the fact that most children tolerate tooth-brushing at
best or even actively dislike it – just like having their nails cut, their
ears cleaned or their hair washed. This is sometimes because small
children don’t really know what’s happening. No matter how young
your child, always explain what you are doing and possibly how long
you expect it to take. A tooth-brushing song or rhyme may help.
Once your child knows the song, he will also sense when the toothbrushing is almost finished. Your most important contribution as
a parent to personal hygiene routines is to both tell your child and
get the message across to him or her that brushing teeth is simply
something you do, full stop. Whether they like it or not, they must
martine van gemert
development of the teeth
huurah a white dot!
ouch, it hurts!
A small white dot in the bottom jaw is often the first sign that the
teeth are about to come through. This milestone in your child’s
young life usually happens around the age of six months. That small
white dot has a whole history behind it, though, because the milk
teeth start to develop in the sixth week of pregnancy. That’s when
the first cells (embryonic tooth cells) form, from which the milk
teeth later develop. The embryonic cells of the first permanent teeth
start to grow from the eighth month of the pregnancy.
Teething can be accompanied by a great deal of discomfort, both for
the baby and to a lesser degree for the parents. The most obvious
sign that your child is teething is when he wants to bite and chew
on everything and anything. The gums are sore and biting can
relieve the pain (if only temporarily). The best thing to give him is
a teething ring that you have chilled in the fridge. He will certainly
get a lot of comfort from this at night. And so will you, because of
course sleepless nights are not much fun for parents either. Babies
may also cry more when they are teething, lose their appetites, be
clingy and even have a raised temperature. You cannot prevent
this. It is important though that your child gets a good night’s
sleep. Crying and fever can keep them awake. In that case the best
thing to do is give them paracetamol, because once the regular
sleeping pattern is disturbed, you can end up in a vicious circle of
over-tiredness, more crying and so on. You must try to avoid that.
As well as these discomforts and inconveniences, teething can be
accompanied by changes in the faeces. More dirty nappies and bad
nappy rash require adequate hygiene and gentle care. The benefit
of special teething drops (usually homeopathic remedies) to relieve
pain has not been scientifically proven, but that does not mean that
they don’t do any good. Even if they don’t help, they can’t do any
harm!
and there is number two…
The teeth generally come through in a set order. The first to come
are the two bottom central incisors, followed by the two upper
central incisors (see illustration).
50
There is some variation between children in the order that their
teeth come through and there is also some age variation. Some
children start to get their teeth 3 to 4 months earlier than average;
for others it can be up to 20 months later. This range of ages is
considered normal. So don’t worry if your 18-month-old is happily
marching on through life still toothless; all you can do is wait.
Average children who get their first milk teeth around the age of
six months can expect to have almost a full set of milk teeth by
around 20 months. The last molars to come through, the second
deciduous molars to be precise, do not usually appear until the age
of 24 to 30 months. Anyway, when you have your first appointment
at the infant welfare clinic, you will be given a book in which your
child’s development will be recorded; this includes a description of
the development of a child’s teeth. Healthy teeth contribute to the
general health and well-being of your child. So it is important that
you as a parent also learn about children’s teeth and how you can
keep them healthy; your efforts will certainly be rewarded.
time to celebrate again: the first
permanent tooth
A wobbly tooth is generally a sign that your
child is ready to start getting his permanent
teeth. The milk teeth make way for the
permanent (adult) teeth. This process starts
around the age of 6 years. The lower central
incisors are the first milk teeth to be lost,
followed by the upper incisors. The first
51
‘adult’ molars come through behind the last milk teeth. As with the
eruption of the milk teeth, individual children vary in the age and
sequence of the appearance of their permanent teeth. Most children
do not really have much trouble getting their permanent teeth. That
wobbly tooth can sometimes make it difficult to eat certain foods,
but as a general rule they do not experience much pain. If your child
is upset about losing his teeth or if he’s a bit frightened, bear this
in mind when brushing his teeth. Apart from that, heredity plays a
major role in the development of the teeth. Do you have large teeth
in too small a jaw? Then there is a big chance that your children
will have this too. If you have particular teeth missing or if you have
a couple of extra ones, your children can expect to have the same.
Always tell your dentist about things of this kind. Not that the
dentist can change anything, but he will be able to put your mind at
rest and discuss the possible consequences with you.
However your child’s teeth develop, as a parent it is your job to focus
on taking care of them every day. That’s where you stand to gain the
most!
CARE OF THE TEETH
brush that tooth
52
As soon as the first tooth comes through, you can start the most
important oral hygiene routine: tooth-brushing. Not on day 1,
of course, when the gums can still be extra sensitive, but soon
afterwards. The fact is that as soon as the tooth comes through,
bacteria immediately attach themselves to the enamel and they
need to be removed regularly so they are not given free rein to create
cavities.
Introduce tooth-brushing as a game, using either a normal
toothbrush or a silicon fingertip toothbrush. The sooner a child
gets used to the routine and the equipment, the more normal he
will find it. The first form of brushing is more like stroking, but
that doesn’t matter. At this stage, the important thing is that you
and your child make this into a daily routine. Brushing once a day is
enough for a single tooth, although twice a day is always better. You
yourself choose the best time and the most comfortable place (your
child lying on the changing mat or sitting at the wash basin). It’s
not actually necessary to use toothpaste, but it is a good idea to use a
bit of toddler toothpaste to get him used to it.
brush twice a day
When the first molars start to appear, start brushing twice a day
if you are not doing so already. Brush teeth as part of the morning
ritual of getting dressed – preferably before breakfast. That cleans
your child’s teeth and prepares them to cope well with the acid
attack that is the inevitable consequence of eating. If you prefer to
brush their teeth after breakfast, then wait at least 30 minutes. The
teeth need that time to recover naturally from the acid attack (see
separate paragraph). Brush teeth for the second time after the last
meal, just before bedtime. You do this to prevent food residues and
bacteria working on your child’s tooth enamel all through the night.
Because we produce less saliva during the night, our natural defence
against this acid attack is not sufficient. That’s why you must never
ever give your child a bottle with milk or juice at night. Night feeds
are no longer necessary for a baby’s development once they are on
solid food; so for that reason too, it is not a good idea to give a bottle
at night. If your child wakes up thirsty, which is not uncommon,
just give him a drink of water.
acid attack
Food and drink contain sugars and carbohydrates that are converted
into acids by the bacteria on our teeth. This is what we mean
by an acid attack. Each acid attack eats into the structure of the
tooth enamel. It takes thirty minutes on average for the saliva to
neutralise the acid. That’s why we advise against brushing your
teeth immediately after eating, because then you are brushing away
the weakened enamel. So it’s better to wait half an hour.
Once the acid has been neutralised, the enamel repairs itself in about
three hours. So you need to give the enamel the chance to do that.
If your child eats and drinks too often, the acid attacks follow too
quickly one after another and the tooth enamel does not get time to
repair. That’s when you get cavities.
53
awareness
doing it by myself
The milk teeth need to be taken seriously; and the more parents
realise this, the better. Once you know the consequences of that
apparently innocent bottle of juice or milk in bed at night, you can
make a conscious choice of a good alternative, such as a bottle of
water. The same applies to food. It is best to plan to eat five times
a day: three meals and two snacks in between. As a child gets older,
that can be increased to seven times a day, which should in fact be
the maximum for children and adults. By sticking to set times of
the day when you eat or drink something, not only do you keep
your energy balance in equilibrium (same number of calories in as
you consume), you also give the teeth chance to repair themselves
naturally between meals. This is because each sip or bite you
take brings on an ‘attack’ on your teeth, an attack that your teeth
can withstand given favourable conditions. If you are eating and
drinking all day long, the teeth get no chance to repair themselves
and in time you will get cavities (see Acid Attack paragraph).
From the age of about 3 or 4, young children like to brush their
own teeth. Encourage this, but always brush your child’s teeth
yourself as well – either before or afterwards. Once they reach 5 or
6, children like special brushes with light and sound effects. If this
helps maintain your child’s motivation to brush his teeth, that’s
fine. Do check, though, that the brush is soft enough and the right
size. Dental floss, tooth picks and mouth washes are unnecessary for
children. Replace toothbrushes regularly. If the bristles are bent due
to your child biting them, then it really is time for a new one!
teach them young…
It is impossible to start good oral hygiene habits too young. The
basic routine remains the same throughout the first two years of
your child’s life. You start by brushing with a soft toothbrush once
a day, soon moving on to twice a day. Use a special toothpaste for
toddlers in the beginning, and as your child gets older move on to
a junior toothpaste. The recommended age is usually given on the
tube. Different brands can vary, so always check. You could ask your
dentist about the right toothpaste to use.
Apart from that, choose a toothpaste with as bland a flavour as
possible for a young child. Children soon get used to sweet flavours,
and that can make it more difficult to move on to adult oral hygiene
products, which usually have a quite pronounced minty flavour.
Your child may enjoy listening to a rhyme or song when you brush
his teeth. Use the same song each time, as that makes the procedure
less daunting and more familiar (see tooth-brushing songs and
rhymes).
how to brush?
Brushing your teeth seems so simple, but when you have to brush
your child’s teeth it can suddenly seem really tricky. It’s difficult to
describe the action on paper, but we’ll do our best.
Place the toothbrush gently and at a slight angle against the edge
of the gum and make a gentle scrubbing movement. Not from top
to bottom, but from back to front. Brush back and forth like this
for each of the four quadrants of the mouth, preferably in a set
order. For example: first top left and bottom left, then top right and
bottom right. It’s handy to remember OIS: outside, inside, surface.
This means that you first brush the outside of the teeth (next to
the cheek), then the inside (next to the tongue and palate) and
finally the chewing surfaces. This should all take about 2 minutes,
although for very young children you will probably want to make it
a bit shorter (try to keep it fun).
EQUIPMENT AND MATERIALS
what parents need to know
(with step-by-step plan)
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
54
You don’t need very much to look after your child’s teeth properly.
For babies it’s useful to have a teething ring at home, chilled and
ready for the moment when the first teeth present themselves and
your baby has the urge to chew on something. You can also safely
buy a baby toothbrush; the sooner your baby understands what
that brush is for, the better. You might also like to use a fingertip
toothbrush in the very early days. By all means use this to massage
the gums, which can relieve teething pain. Electric toothbrushes
are not recommended for young children. This is because, first of
all, young children often don’t like the noise and this can put them
off. You must avoid the situation where a child sees tooth-brushing
as unpleasant or scary because of the noise. Learning to brush your
teeth is also about having a light grip and a light touch; it’s more
difficult to feel this if you use an electric toothbrush. Your own hand
is the best tool here. For 5- and 6-year-olds an electric toothbrush
might well be a help: at this age, they are responsive to extra stimuli
and are interested in anything that makes a noise or flashes. This is a
matter of personal preference, though. If your child is not interested,
don’t push him. Dental floss and tooth picks are unnecessary. Only
use them if your child happens to get something stuck between his
teeth that he cannot get rid of by brushing and rinsing.
Our mirror timer could be an extra help. It’s easy for young children
to hold and so they can watch what is happening as their teeth are
being brushed. The mirror has little lights on the side that will
all come on in the space of two minutes. You start brushing the
inside of the teeth (top and bottom), then the chewing surfaces (top
and bottom), and then the outside of the teeth (top and bottom).
Brush each section of the mouth for twenty seconds until the next
light comes on. The special toothbrush has a fun rattle that helps
your child to hear whether he is brushing properly. This set can be
bought from specialist baby shops and from www.difraxshop.com.
YOU CAN SNACK – BUT NOT ALL DAY LONG
WHAT ELSE?
Of course, you need a good fluoride toothpaste. Which you choose
is a matter of personal preference. For your child, all that matters is
that the flavour should ideally be as bland as possible and that the
composition (fluoride content) should be right for his age. So use
toddler toothpaste for the under-5’s and junior toothpaste for 5- to
9-year-olds. Manufacturers all use their own brand names, so inspect
the label carefully and read the specification of the composition.
Children do not need to be given extra fluoride in the form of tablets,
etc., nor do they need to use mouth wash. The dentist may give
extra fluoride at the check-up if he/she discovers that your child is
XXXX again. Older children tend to be very fond of chewing gum
or sugar-free gum. If this is sweetened with xylitol, it offers some
protection against cavities. This does not mean that it is good for
your teeth to be chewing gum all day long. First, it’s not good for the
muscles of the jaw; and secondly, it doesn’t look nice. Chewing gum
sweetened with xylitol can sometimes offer an alternative if you
are not able to brush your teeth after lunch, for instance, but it is
certainly not a substitute for brushing your teeth! If a child has bad
breath, one of the causes could be bacterial build-up on the tongue.
Use of a tongue scraper is recommended in that case, but be careful.
Many children find this really unpleasant, especially when you go
far back in the mouth. So always ask your dentist of hygienist for
advice.
more susceptible to cavities than normal. For the same reason, the
dentist may also consider it necessary to seal the first permanent
molars, to give them extra protection against cavities. To increase
the awareness of children from the age of 5 or 6, you could use
disclosing tablets now and again. These tablets (you bite into them
after brushing) ruthlessly reveal places you have missed or not
brushed properly. The red colour that the tablets leave behind is a
good indicator of where invisible bacteria are lurking, which will, in
the course of time, cause cavities. This red result is often enough to
inspire weeks of serious and enthusiastic tooth-brushing!
It is best to limit when you eat something to 5, or at most 7, times
a day. Assuming that you have three meals a day, this leaves room
for 2, or at most 4, snacks. It’s alright to have a sweet as one of your
snacks, or even three at the same time, which is better than eating
the same three sweets spread over time. You also need to be aware
that savoury snacks can have the same effect as sweet snacks. All
drinks, apart from water, also count as snacks. So have a drink
(juice/milk/tea) with a biscuit, sweet or other snack. That way you
concentrate it into one snack time, whereas if you have a drink first
and then have a biscuit half an hour later, for example, the attack is
spread over a longer period. Read the Acid Attack paragraph on page
they must brush their teeth
We could talk about this all day, but it wouldn’t alter the fact that
most children tolerate tooth-brushing at best or even actively dislike
it – just like having their nails cut, their ears cleaned or their hair
washed. This is sometimes because small children don’t really know
what’s happening. No matter how young your child, always explain
what you are doing and possibly how long you expect it to take. A
tooth-brushing song or rhyme may help. Once your child knows the
song, he will also sense when the tooth-brushing is almost finished.
Your most important contribution as a parent to personal hygiene
routines is to both tell your child and get the message across to him
or her that brushing teeth is simply something you do, full stop.
Whether they like it or not, they must brush their teeth.
bringing up a child means setting a good example
55
They must brush their teeth, and so must parents of course. So set
a good example and brush your own teeth where your children
can see you. That’s how you show them that it’s very normal and
that it doesn’t hurt. If your child resists having his teeth brushed,
you have to get on top of the problem. You really must persevere
in your child’s interest. The resistance is often associated with
a particular phase in their development and they will gradually
grow out of it. If you give in or let yourself be enticed to negotiate,
then your child will soon gain the upper hand and tooth-brushing
will only get more difficult. Children are incredibly smart where
that is concerned and have an unerring instinct when it comes to
manipulating their parents. Stick to your guns and then your child
will, at some point, realise that there is no point resisting and that
it’s better just to cooperate. Since brushing your teeth is a normal
part of the daily personal hygiene routine, use of rewards is not
really a good idea. After all, you don’t make a fuss and reward them
for washing their hands. You could, however, use our special toothbrushing calendar or agree on a sign to remind you that you still
have to brush or that you have just done it successfully! Keep calm.
By keeping very calm yourself and gently brushing your child’s teeth
Day 3
•
If your child is ready, here’s a plan to get you started:
•
step-by-step plan for children to learn to brush their
•
own teeth (age +/- 3 years)
•
Day 1
•
•
Spend some time in the morning having a good look at the •
toothbrush and toothpaste;
•
•
Put a blob of toothpaste the size of a pea on the brush;
•
Get your child to brush all the chewing surfaces of all four quadrants of his mouth;
Day 4
•
You brush the insides and outsides;
•
•
Let him drink a little water if he wants to, don’t rinse;
•
Rinse the toothbrush and put it away;
•
•
Repeat in the evening;
•
TOOTH sticker: stick a tooth sticker on the morning or
•
evening side of the Clean Teeth Tooth-brushing Calendar. •
Day 2
•
•
In the morning, put a blob of toothpaste the size of a pea •
on the brush;
•
•
Get your child to brush all the outsides of the teeth of all •
four quadrants of his mouth;
•
You brush the insides and the surfaces;
•
Let him drink a little water if he wants to, don’t rinse;
Day 5
•
Rinse the toothbrush and put it away;
•
•
Repeat in the evening;
•
TOOTH sticker: stick a tooth sticker on the morning or •
evening side of the Clean Teeth Tooth-brushing Calendar. •
•
twice a day, you’ll be able to establish a good routine within a week.
56
In the morning, put a blob of toothpaste the size of a pea on the brush;
Get your child to brush all the insides of the teeth of all four quadrants of his mouth;
You brush the outsides and the surfaces;
Let him drink a little water if he wants to, don’t rinse;
Rinse the toothbrush and put it away;
Repeat in the evening;
TOOTH sticker: stick a tooth sticker on the morning or evening side of the Clean Teeth Tooth-brushing Calendar.
In the morning, put a blob of toothpaste the size of a pea on the brush;
Get your child to brush all four quadrants of his mouth, one at a time;
Teach your child OIS, that is first the outside, then the inside and then the surfaces;
Brush all the teeth yourself one more time afterwards;
Let him drink a little water if he wants to, don’t rinse;
Rinse the toothbrush and put it away;
Repeat in the evening;
TOOTH sticker: stick a tooth sticker on the morning or evening side of the Clean Teeth Tooth-brushing Calendar.
In the morning, put a blob of toothpaste the size of a pea on the brush;
Get your child to brush all four quadrants of his mouth, one at a time the OIS’s;
Watch the time, so that he brushes for at least two minutes (use a tooth-brushing song or rhyme for this);
Brush all the teeth yourself one more time afterwards;
57
•
•
•
•
Let him drink a little water if he wants to, don’t rinse;
Rinse the toothbrush and put it away;
Repeat in the evening;
GOLD TOOTH sticker: as this is day 5, stick a gold tooth sticker on the morning or evening side of the Clean Teeth Tooth-brushing Calendar.
Day 6
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
In the morning, put a blob of toothpaste the size of a pea on the brush;
Get your child to brush all four quadrants of his mouth, one at a time the OIS’s;
Let him try to keep time himself, so that he brushes for at least 2 minutes. You sing the song or say the rhyme;
Brush all the teeth yourself one more time afterwards;
Let him drink a little water if he wants to, don’t rinse;
Rinse the toothbrush and put it away;
Repeat in the evening;
TOOTH sticker: stick a tooth sticker on the morning or evening side of the Clean Teeth Tooth-brushing Calendar.
Day 7: Tooth-brushing Certificate
•
In the morning, put a blob of toothpaste the size of a pea on the brush;
•
Get your child to brush all four quadrants of his mouth, one at a time the OIS’s;
•
Both of you keep the time, so that he brushes for at least 2 minutes. Use the song/rhyme again.
•
Brush all the teeth yourself one more time afterwards;
•
Let him drink a little water if he wants to, don’t rinse;
•
Rinse the toothbrush and put it away;
•
Repeat in the evening;
•
TOOTH sticker: stick a tooth sticker on the morning or evening side of the Clean Teeth Tooth-brushing Calendar.
Repeat this last day until all 20 teeth have been stuck on the
morning and evening sides of the calendar. Then there can be big
celebrations at the wash basin: your child has earned his Toothbrushing Certificate!!
You will find the certificate in the back of this book. Next time you
go to the dentist, ask him or her to sign your certificate.
Dentists advise that you continue to supervise your children’s toothbrushing up to the age of 9 or 10. Children tend to overestimate their
independence somewhat in this area and parents are sometimes
grateful to take advantage of that. Don’t be tempted into this
premature delegation of duties, because both the motor skills and
conscientiousness of children of this age still leave much to be
desired.
do's and don'ts
the biggest pitfalls
to the music - rhymes and songs
(To the tune of Frère Jacques)
Brushing nicely, brushing nicely,
Back and forth, back and forth,
Inside, surface, outside,
Inside, surface, outside,
And again, and again.
58
(To the tune of Old MacDonald Had a Farm)
Clever Kevin has a brush, E-I-E-I-O,
And on that brush he puts some toothpaste, E-I-E-I-O,
With a brush brush here and brush brush there,
Here a tooth, there a tooth,
Everywhere a clean tooth,
Clever Kevin has a brush, E-I-E-I-O.
(Substitute child’s name and she.)
(To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Brush, brush, brush your teeth,
Brush them every day.
We put toothpaste on our brush,
To help stop tooth decay.
What should you do and what should you avoid doing when it
comes to caring for your child’s teeth? Here are our most practical
tips for healthy eating and drinking habits.
(To the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)
Sparkle, sparkle, little teeth,
Some above and some beneath.
Brush them all at every meal,
Clean and fresh they’ll always feel.
Sparkle, sparkle, little teeth,
Some above and some beneath.
Don’t:
Give juice or soft drinks all day long. This also applies to the organic
and light varieties.
Snacking, snacking, it’s okay.
Try it in the proper way.
Eat raw veggies, fruit and cheese.
They will make your mouth say “Please!”
Snacking, snacking, it’s okay.
Try it in the proper way.
Here’s a song about the tooth fairy. It has actions to go with it......
(To the tune of There’s a Hole in My Bucket)
There’s a hole in your smile,
(point to your smile each time you say the word smile)
your smile, your smile;
There’s a hole in your smile,
Your tooth just fell out! (clap on the word ‘out’)
Put it under your pillow, (swoop right hand down to under left hand
on ‘under’ and rest head on clasped hands each time you say the
word ‘pillow’)
your pillow, your pillow;
Put it under your pillow,
and find a surprise! (Look excited and “burst” fingers up near face at
the word ‘surprise’)
59
Do:
Give fruit juice or squash once or twice a day and water the rest of
the time. We recommend serving milk or water with meals.
Why: Five meals/snacks is a good guideline, but that includes drinks.
Squash and juice are nice to drink, but it’s not healthy to drink
them all day long. That’s true for adults, but it’s especially true for
children. The teeth need the chance to repair themselves after each
time you have something to eat or drink. The less chance they get to
repair themselves, the greater the risk of cavities. Water is the best
alternative. Set a good example and don’t drink soft drinks with your
meals; instead, put a big jug of water on the table. Another problem
is that sweet drinks are filling but don’t really satisfy. So your child
feels full before he starts eating. (In any case, children under 4
should not be allowed to drink any soft drinks). Another good tip
is to let your child empty his cup all at once. That’s because every
mouthful of squash or juice is a new attack on his teeth; drinking
up the whole cup at once avoids that. Lastly, take a bottle of water
with you everywhere for when your child’s thirsty. And if your child
is away from home during the day, tell the school, day care centre,
grandparents or the childminder what your family rules are on
drinking. They will usually be willing to go along with this in your
child’s interest to protect his teeth.
meals and snacks
(1) Breakfast, fresh juice and/or a cup of milk
(2) Snack (e.g. fruit with a drink)
(3) Lunch with a cup or glass of milk
(4) Snack (e.g. biscuit/sweets/crisps with a drink)
(5) Evening meal with milk or water, yoghurt for desert
Don’t:
Keep giving your child a couple of sweets throughout the day.
Do:
Have a set time of day when your child is allowed to have sweets,
biscuits or crisps.
Why: Exactly the same applies to sweets as to juice and soft drinks;
you can let your child have some but not too many and certainly
not too often. That’s because the teeth need time to recover from
the acid attack brought on by eating sweets. So if you do allow your
child to eat sweets, we recommend that you give them once a day
and not one or two sweets all day long. What’s more, there’s no such
thing as a healthy sweet. That is all the more reason to restrict the
giving of sweets to once a day. And if you don’t buy sweets or you
limit what you buy, the temptation will not be as great. Be careful
about linking sweets with fruit or other food that your child doesn’t
like – “If you eat your apple, then I’ll give you a sweet.” Sweets
should not be given as a reward for eating fruit. Eating fruit is part
of a normal diet, so we recommend that you give it on its own or
with breakfast (fruit juice) or lunch (apple). Many parents give small
children fruit as one of their snacks.
Don’t:
Let your child decide what he eats (and confine yourself to preparing
only his favourite meals).
the DENTIST
the first six-month check-up
Do:
Prepare homemade meals that are as nutritious and varied as
possible.
Why: By giving your child three main meals a day plus a small
number of snacks, you are creating a routine. Make the main meals
nutritious and filling; your child will then find it easier to last until
the next meal without wanting to grab a biscuit or other filling
product that has little nutritional value. There are plenty of tips
available on healthy eating, but this is not the place to go into that.
One point we would like to make is to be careful with low-fat or
‘light’ products. They are not filling enough, and so children who
eat them are more likely to get hungry between meals. And another
thing, the effect of artificial sweeteners on children has not been
adequately researched yet. It’s better to get your child used to tea
and yoghurt without sugar and forget about the sweeteners.
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Don’t:
Make a fuss about tooth-brushing.
Do:
Incorporate tooth-brushing into your daily routine.
Why: Every morning you wash your face before you go to school, you
comb your hair, and you wash your hands before you eat. Brushing
your teeth is just another one of these routines. The sooner toothbrushing becomes part of your family’s daily routine, the better.
Children will often remind you themselves if you forget or are about
to forget to brush their teeth. Choose a time for tooth-brushing that
feels comfortable or natural to you; there’s no set rule for that. A
little humour can be useful: let your children check how well you’ve
brushed your teeth (by letting them look in your mouth with a little
mirror) or use a funny song or rhyme for the tooth-brushing ritual.
61
removed, or to have a filling or an extraction, leave him at home.
Until recently the advice was to start taking children to the dentist Your child is nowhere near ready for seeing this kind of treatment
from the age of 2 years, but the recommended age is getting younger on his daddy or mummy (with the instruments, the noise and
and younger. Dentists have found that all too often children already possibly also your anxiety), and it could be very distressing for him.
have problems by the age of 2, and so by then you are, in fact, too late.
make it into a kind of game
Even though you cannot really expect a child to understand what
Your child will probably be quite happy to sit in the dentist’s chair
is expected of him before the age of 2, it is important that you the
from about the age of 4, since by then he will know exactly what is
parent are given plenty of information about care of the teeth that
applies specifically to your child. The sooner visits to the dentist are going to happen. Parents can stay with him in the treatment room,
but it’s not necessary. The dentist will tell you what the rules of his
taken for granted, the better. Ask your own dentist when he would
practice are and how he/she likes to work. It’s not a good idea to
like you to bring your child with you.
hold your child on your lap in the dentist’s chair. Apart from the
nformation
fact that this makes it awkward for the dentist to do his work, it’s
Expectant mothers should have been given information about the
also a difficult habit to put a stop to. So let your child get used to
development of children’s teeth during their pregnancy. Experience sitting in the chair on his own from the start. If you make it into a
has taught us that pregnant women are very interested in the health kind of game at first (“look, the dentist can make the chair go up and
and well-being of their unborn child. Once the baby is born, the
down”), you’ll reap the rewards later.
young parents’ lives often become so hectic in those early days, that
relaxation is your only salvation
important information about children’s teeth can get pushed into
The visit to the dentist should be relaxed and you need to have
the background by what seems, at that moment, more relevant
confidence in your dentist. As parents you need to invest in
information about sleeping through the night, crying, switching
developing this kind of relationship; your dentist will do the same.
from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, and so on. Nevertheless, it
He/she will try to build a one-to-one relationship with your child,
is important that young parents know at an early stage what
and you the parent need to give him/her the space to do that. Only
they can do to keep their child’s teeth sound and strong. The first
if you approach the dentist in a friendly way will your child develop
tooth comes through at about 6 months on average! You can get
the confidence that he needs to let the dentist check his teeth, and
information from your dentist and from the infant welfare clinic.
later possibly also give him treatments. The fact that anxiety gets
the chair
you nowhere is hardly anywhere as obvious as in the dentist’s
Sitting in the dentist’s chair for the first time is a real milestone.
treatment room. Your feelings about the dentist are conveyed to
Treat it as a bit of a game at first. Your little one really is not expected your child, often unconsciously, and if those feelings are negative or
to go through a whole range of investigations and treatments at this fearful he will pick them up. Children have especially finely tuned
stage. If he doesn’t want to sit in the chair, leave it until next time.
antennae for what you are feeling. So think carefully about what
You should certainly not force him to. Just take your child with you you tell your child beforehand at home. Keep the information as
to your own check-ups; but if you have to go back to have plaque
factual as possible and don’t tell any white lies. “The dentist is going
soothers and thumb-sucking
to make your teeth better,” suggests that your child’s teeth are not
healthy. That is confusing information, because he does not feel ill.
It’s better to stick to the facts and say “The dentist is going to put a
mirror in your mouth to look at your teeth.” Suggestive comments
like “it won’t hurt,” “you don’t need to be frightened” or “he won’t
do anything” imply a degree of threat to a child. So avoid saying
things like that. Comments like these often stem from your own
unpleasant experiences. Remember too that while looking in your
mouth with a mirror or having your teeth polished by the dentist
may be ‘nothing’ to you, for your child it is often a major event..
a good start…
62
... is half the battle. Children do not associate the dentist with pain
or fear on their own. A 6-month check-up ought to be a pleasant and
educational experience, since your child comes to it completely fresh.
Prepare yourself for that and put aside any ideas of fear. If your child
develops a fear of the dentist over time that is inappropriate for his
age, that will be the time to deal with it ¬– don’t anticipate problems.
Going to the dentist should basically be like going to the hairdresser.
It’s just a normal thing that you do.
no cavities
NNothing gives greater satisfaction than a sound set of teeth – the
dentist is happy, the child is happy, the parents are happy. Every
time you visit the dentist, right from the very first time, tell your
child that he did well. All children like to be praised. Say exactly
what went well (“You sat so nicely in the chair, well done.”) and
talk about specific things (“Did you see what a nice mirror the
dentist had? He uses that to look at all your teeth.”). Don’t promise
treats as a reward for good behaviour. That clouds the purpose of
your visit (a dental check-up is part of normal life) and can create
problems for the dentist. If the first or a later visit does not go very
well, don’t punish your child for it. Try to highlight positive points
and praise them for that (“You did go into the room,” “You did sit
sucking habits
in the chair.”). Talk to the dentist about what the next step will be
and above all try not to treat it as a huge problem. Your casual, selfassured and unemotional attitude will help your child.
Babies have a strong need to suck, some more than others. Those
with a strong need to suck may find a soother useful. They satisfy
their need between feeds by sucking a soother. A soother also calms
them and comforts them when they are upset. Remember, though,
that they do have to be weaned off this learned habit at some point.
Once a child reaches the age of 1 year, the instinctive need to suck
has pretty well disappeared, and so the soother is, in fact, then
redundant. If your child is 4 or older, we strongly advise you to
encourage your child to stop using a soother..
the second 6-month check-up
Is it that time already? Yes, it’s time for the second check-up. How
time flies! And see what a lot more teeth have come though since the
last visit! Listen carefully to what the dentist says; he is laying the
groundwork for future check-ups, and as parents you should tune
in to this. Use the same words and concepts as the dentist and ask
straightforward questions about what is going to happen. You and
the dentist are a team.
soo soo the soother fairy
put yourself in your child’s shoes
And one more thing: letting the dentist look in your mouth with a
mirror is letting the dentist look in your mouth with a mirror. For
you that may mean that nothing has to be done (you don’t have
any cavities and so you don’t have to have a tooth drilled). For your
child, however, something is actually happening: that is, someone
is looking in his mouth with a mirror. So try to put yourself in
your child’s shoes; this is often especially difficult for parents who
are themselves afraid of the dentist. Let your child have his own
experiences at the dentist and do something about your own fears.
If you cannot manage to control your own fears, let your partner or
a grandparent take your child to the dentist. It is a crying shame to
saddle your child unnecessarily with your own anxieties.
63
If your child gives up his soother voluntarily before his second
birthday, there will not normally be any irreversible damage to
the teeth. Continuing to use a soother between the ages of 2 and 4
years, and especially after the age of 4, increases the risk of certain
changes in the alignment of the teeth or of growth distortions of
the jaw that can leave ineradicable effects on the permanent teeth;
it may also cause problems with swallowing and give rise to speech
impediments.
Remember that a soother has an entirely different function for a
baby than for a pre-school child or schoolchild. Take advantage
of that; you could, for instance, read The Giving Up Your Soother
Book produced by Difrax (download from www.difrax.com). This
describes in detail a playful approach to getting children to give up
their soothers. If your baby does have a strong sucking instinct, a
soother is preferable to thumb-sucking. It has been found that, in
actual practice, weaning a child off the thumb is far more difficult.
It requires much more discipline, as well as cooperation from
grandparents, day care, school and out-of-school child care.
FIRST AID FOR ACCIDENTS TO THE MOUTH
AND OTHER PROBLEMS WITH TEETH
stay calm
64
a bruise. Only if there is a lump or white spot in the gum above the
Accidents will happen. Before you know it your child has fallen and tooth should you consult your dentist. In that case, there is very
bitten his lip or cheek. The most important thing for parents to do is likely to be an infection and the dentist will have to take the tooth
to stay calm, because your child really benefits from that. All that an out.
anxious panicky parent does is to make their child panic more. After
permanent tooth knocked out
that, what should you do about ...?
Should your child break a permanent tooth in an accident, that is
tooth through the lip
an entirely different matter. If this happens to your 6-year-old or an
It can happen to anyone: your child stumbles, bites his lip as he falls older child, you should always go to the dentist. If the tooth (or part
and there you are with a howling child and blood all over the place. of the tooth) has come out, save it in milk. This is because the tooth
Comfort your child and calm him down. Then dab the lip clean with is covered by a membrane which is very easily damaged. By putting
a piece of gauze or clean cloth. Look to see if a piece has broken off
the tooth in milk, you keep that membrane as intact as possible,
the tooth and then look to see if you can find it. If not, then when
which increases the chance of being able to put it back successfully.
your child has calmed down you’ll have to phone the dentist. The
Don’t rinse it or try to clean it yourself. The dentist will give you
possibility that a piece of tooth has disappeared into the lip has to
instructions as to what else you can and can’t do.
be ruled out. Check the lip. If there is a large gash and you can’t stop
inflamed gums
the bleeding, you’ll have to go to Accident & Emergency to see if it
Tooth-brushing should keep not only the teeth clean and fresh, but
needs stitching. Usually, though, the bloodbath is coming from a
also the gums. Poor brushing can lead to inflamed gums. Inflamed
relatively small wound and your child soon feels better. Most falls
gums are sensitive to the touch and prone to bleeding. Then your
cannot be prevented, but once your child starts to do sport it’s a
child will not want to brush his teeth or allow you to brush them.
good idea to give him a gum shield, especially for team sports like
All the same, it is very important to do it, because otherwise the
hockey and rugby but also for other contact sports like judo.
inflammation will persist and you will end up in a vicious circle.
milk tooth knocked out
If a tooth is knocked out, then phone the dentist. He or she will ask
whether the tooth is completely knocked out, a piece broken off, or
the tooth has been driven back into the gum. It’s not a good idea
to dash off to the dentist in a state of panic. What’s more, you can’t
put a milk tooth back or stick a broken tooth back together again.
So, before taking your child to the dentist, wait until everyone has
calmed down. The next most important thing after keeping calm is
to take care of the wound properly. A milk tooth can discolour after
a hard fall or blow. Usually they go greyish. This discolouration
does not usually go away, but it is harmless. It can be compared to
Rest assured – with normal daily tooth-brushing, the risk of
fluorosis is infinitesimally small.
toothache
Children often have difficulty telling you that they have toothache.
They do give out signs, though, that should alert you as a parent to
the possibility of toothache. You need to watch your child carefully.
Signs that could indicate toothache include: a change in eating
patterns (leaving things that they used to like), pain when eating,
pain in response to heat or cold, constantly holding on to the cheek,
complaining about earache, disturbed sleep, etc. You need to watch
your child carefully, but you also need to ask questions. If in doubt,
always contact the dentist.
mouth ulcers
65
Those nasty white sores on the gums or the inside of the cheek are
horribly painful. Some children are genetically prone to getting
mouth ulcers, but they can also occur when a child’s resistance is
low. They are quite common in older children. Special products
(including natural remedies) are available from pharmacies to dab
onto the painful sores (Pyralvex, Kamillosan). You can use these for
large sores that are at risk of infection. For small ulcers, rinsing the
mouth with lukewarm salted water should be sufficient. They soon
heal.
fluorosis
If your child has brown or white mottling on the teeth, this
could be caused by excessive intake of fluorides. It is especially
prevalent among ethnic minority children who have been drinking
fluoridated drinking water for a long time. There is nothing to be
done about it, although in the long term cosmetic correction is an
option. It is a myth that children can get fluorosis from using adult
toothpaste. That’s not true, but you do need to make sure that your
child does not swallow too much toothpaste, because that really is
bad for them.
developmental disorders
Some children’s teeth look a little bit different from the moment
they come through. They are yellower, may be pitted in places, and
are sensitive to brushing or cold or hot food. If your child shows any
of these symptoms, he may have a developmental disorder of the
tooth enamel. The enamel is weaker, porous, or in some cases has not
formed at all. This is sometimes but by no means always genetically
determined. A familiar example is what we in the Netherlands call
‘cheese teeth’, a developmental disorder of the enamel that mainly
affects the first permanent molars. Developmental disorders come
in all sorts and degrees of severity. Your dentist will recognise
them and will discuss treatment options with you. These options
vary from doing nothing, through cosmetic correction and repair
of major defects, to extraction of very seriously affected teeth that
are abnormally sensitive. Dentists often refer children to a special
paediatric dentist for treatment. You cannot do anything to prevent
disorders of the enamel, but if you know that your child has this
problem you should speak to your dentist about extra preventive
measures (e.g. a different toothpaste, or more frequent fluoride
treatments).
acid erosion
Erosion means that the tooth enamel becomes eroded or wears thin,
mainly due to the corrosive effect of acid. The acid comes from your
food and drink. One example is the fruit acid in orange juice. Fruit
acid corrodes tooth enamel quite aggressively. The way to prevent
acid erosion is to exercise moderation in your consumption of acidic
drinks, such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices and energy drinks. Dilute
them with water, or drink a glass of water after you drink something
acidic to neutralise it. Ideally you should also not brush your teeth
for half an hour after eating and drinking.
That gives the enamel time to recover from
the acid attack, so that it is hard enough to
withstand the brushing. If your young child
vomits a lot, for whatever reason, you should
also watch out for acid erosion. Stomach acid has
the same effect as fruit acid, etc.
myths
wear
and finally, when should you be worried?
Some children have the habit of grinding their teeth. This may
be due to anxiety or to misalignment of the teeth (malocclusion)
(which may or may not be caused by breathing through their
mouth). It is difficult to do anything about this, as you cannot
correct a sleeping child. Only after the age of ten can children be
measured for a dental guard. This does not reduce the grinding itself,
but it limits the damage it causes to some extent. If your child’s
teeth-grinding is causing pain, consult your dentist. The pain need
not necessarily be in the teeth; teeth-grinding can also cause pain
in the jaw or headache. If your child is a really bad teeth-grinder, a
psychologist may be able to help.
66
The normal process of children getting their teeth should give
parents little cause for concern. But there are a number of situations
where you do need to call on the help of your dentist, a paediatric
dentist or other practitioner.
- Severe toothache. As we said earlier, children often do not say they
have toothache, but point to their jaw, throat or head if they are in
a lot of pain. That’s not surprising, because toothache often radiates
away from the source. You need to visit the dentist in order to find
out the real cause of the pain and get help to stop it.
- Trauma. If your child has a fall or, for instance, is hit in the face by a
ball, we recommend that you contact the dentist as soon as possible.
- You also need to go to the dentist if your child is extremely late
caries
getting his teeth. This will often be noted at the infant welfare clinic,
It’s what every parent fears – cavities in their children’s teeth. The
but you should seek help yourself anyway.
medical word for this is caries. The most important thing you need - You also need to seek help if your child persistently refuses to
to know about caries is that ALL CHILDREN can get them. This will brush his teeth or let you brush them despite enthusiastic efforts
come as an eye-opener to many parents. Good tooth-brushing habits by yourself and your partner. Oral hygiene habits are part of normal
and healthy eating are only the basic preconditions for healthy teeth, life – so don’t ignore this problem.
but even then you can still get cavities. If you don’t brush or if you
snack too often, you will get caries even sooner. Cavities in the milk
teeth do require treatment. Your dentist may give you guidance
on how to keep the cavity extra clean, or the cavity may be filled, or,
if it is a very large cavity or if the tooth in question shows signs of
infection, the tooth may have to be extracted. If your own dentist is
not very comfortable with treating children, he/she may refer you to
a specialist paediatric dentist. The idea that treatment is unnecessary
because it’s only a milk tooth and will come out anyway is an old
wives’ tale, as is the idea that milk teeth have no feeling. Milk teeth
have just as much feeling as the adult teeth that succeed them and,
knowing that children do not get their permanent molars until they
are between 9- and 11-years-old, it seems rather harsh to let them
run around with cavities from the age of 5.
bad teeth are inherited
False
Bad teeth are not inherited, poor oral hygiene habits are! If you do
not brush your teeth properly, you are not setting a good example to
your children. They then run a greater risk of developing caries and
other problems with their teeth. What is genetically determined is
the fact that some children are especially susceptible to tooth decay.
Through conscientious tooth-brushing and good eating habits,
however, they need not have any more cavities than other children.
Molars with deep grooves can be sealed as a precautionary measure.
The seal covers the tooth with a protective layer.
antibiotics make your teeth yellow
False
Yellow teeth indicate a developmental deficiency of the teeth. It’s not
known whether frequent use of antibiotics is implicated in this. In
any case, no direct link has ever been found.
breastfeeding causes caries
False
This old wives’ tale is as stubborn as it is untrue. Breastfeeding is not
harmful to children’s teeth. It is true that both breastfeeding and
False
bottle-feeding during the night increase the risk of tooth decay. This
The only causes of cavities in the permanent teeth are poor toothis because the milk brings about an acid attack on the teeth. Since
brushing and bad eating habits, such as a lot of sweets and soft
your child immediately goes back to sleep, you don’t clean his teeth,
drinks. A cavity in the milk teeth that is left untreated, however, can with all the consequences that brings. From a dental health point
lead to an infection that could adversely affect the development of
of view, it is advisable to stop night feeds as soon as your baby gets
the permanent teeth. That’s why it’s best to have cavities in the milk teeth. Besides, from a developmental point of view, most babies can
teeth treated properly.
sleep through after a late feed from about 8 weeks, although this
does not mean that your baby will do this in practice. Of course, this
you don’t get cavities from eating savoury things
kind of tooth decay is also caused by the night-time bottle, which far
False
too many older children are given to take to bed. If your child wakes
Tooth decay is not specifically caused by sweet food. Savoury food
up thirsty in the night, a bottle of water is just fine. Whatever you
and snacks also bring about an acid attack on your teeth. It’s also a
do, never give a child juice or milk to take to bed.
matter of how often you eat. Five times a day – 3 main meals and 2
cough medicine is bad for the teeth
snacks – is enough for a young child.
True and false
if you eat a lot of sweets you should brush your teeth The cough medicine itself is not necessarily bad for your teeth, but
straightaway
the time that you take it often is. More often than not a child is in
False
his pyjamas sitting up in bed when he takes a spoonful of that lovely
After you have eaten sweets (whether a lot or only a few), your teeth sweet syrup. Then he goes to sleep and that sweet stuff has plenty of
are subjected to an acid attack. They can recover reasonably well on
time to eat away at the teeth. Taking the cough medicine before you
having cavities in the milk teeth means you also get
cavities in the permanent teeth
67
their own, but it takes time. The acid softens the enamel, making
it easier to brush away. It’s better to wait half an hour before you
brush your teeth. By then the enamel will be hard enough again
TOOTHSIE THE TOOTHBRUSH FAIRY
USEFUL INFORMATION AND ADDRESSES
and the tooth fairy
brush his teeth is one option; another option is to give
sugar-free medicines. Ask your pharmacist, especially if
your child takes a lot of medicines.
x-rays are harmful to children
False
At least, they are no more harmful than they are to adults.
Fortunately special clothing (an apron usually) is now available to
protect everyone, big and small, from radiation. From about 5 years
old your child’s mouth is big enough to have an X-ray of his teeth
taken. If you are pregnant when you visit the dentist, you must
tell him/her this. Then the dentist can take appropriate protective
measures.
distant relatives
information
Toothsie the toothbrush fairy can help you to make tooth-brushing
an established ritual in your home. She is a very, very distant relative
of another fairy – the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy only comes at night
when your wobbly tooth has come out and you put it under your
pillow. She secretly swaps it for a nice surprise. You can reinstate
this age-old custom in your own family. That’s up to you and your
partner. Remember, though, to clearly distinguish between the two
fairies and their specific jobs. Children often take everything very
literally and they can confuse the two fairies. Tell them they don’t
need to worry when they go to bed: the real Toothsie the toothbrush
fairy does not visit children at home.
www.difrax.com
(to download the book, extra calendars, etc.)
www.colgate.co.uk/app/Colgate/UK/OralCare/OralHealthCenter/
LifeStages/InfantsToChildren.cvsp
http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/html/child_dental.html
www.dentalhealth.org.uk/faqs/browseleaflets.php
www.bdasmile.org/infants/
www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/
68
69
The
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BELONGS TO
Top Tooth-brusher
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The very best story, puzzle
www.difrax.com
Previously published in this series:
activity book for children
The Giving Up Your and
Soother Book
The Dry Pants Book
who love their soothers
70
dry
Toilet
lessons
training
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for youn
children
pants
book
Wit
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Previously published in this series:
The Giving Up Your Soother Book
(ISBN: 978-90-8715-013-6)
The Take A Bite-Swallow-Gone Book
(ISBN: 978-90-8715-017-4)
The Dry Pants Book
71
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The driest book of all
for learning to do poos and
wee-wees in the toilet
the
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DATE ................
A day never to forget!
t...
Suitable for children from the age of three with some help
from their parents.
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Children’s
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stories about
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TIPS from
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soother fairy
Idea and text: Vivienne van Eijkelenborg
Monique Thomas-Holtus shares her experiences and expertise as an eating counsellor in the section for parents which she wrote. The fairy story
part of the book blends seamlessly with Monique’s advice. The whole plan
is made complete with the special magic dinner set (obtainable from www.
difraxshop.com and from specialist baby shops), so that eating really does
become: Take a bite–swallow–gone!
TOOTH-BRUSHING
CERTIFICATE
To
ur child, actind, finally, a
oilet only really
ps of PeePee
Give up your soother in 15 days!
Text: Monique Thomas-Holtus
Illustrations & text: Inge Nouws
the dry pants book
involves some
walk, but also
dren, this comes
their nappy
ilet training
ur child!
The
*Giving UpBook
*Your*Soother*
A child has a lot to learn in the first few years. He has to learn to sit,
stand and walk, but also to learn to eat and drink. With some children this
all comes naturally, for others it comes less naturally. This book offers
you support, so that learning to eat and learning to enjoy food can be a
pleasant experience and a journey of discovery for your child!
The Take A Bite-Swallow-Gone book contains fun stories for reading
aloud, activities, a taste-something-new plan, reward stickers and one
more lovely surprise! Learning to eat and learning to enjoy food is made
fun with the help of the adventures of Kate and Kevin and with tips from
MiMi the food fairy!
TH E TAKE A BITE•SWALLOW•GO NE BOOK
*Giving Up*Your*Soother*Book
miliar soot-
S
N
O
TI
DENTIST ................
My signature for a super effort!
The Tooth-brushing Certificate can be downloaded free of charge from www.difrax.com
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