Help! My child needs a filling!

Some children are simply more prone to tooth decay than others – here’s what you can do about it.

The problem of tooth decay in children isn’t always as clear-cut as we’d like to think. Many parents follow the oral health rulebook to the letter, ensuring their child brushes properly twice a day, and limiting sugar in their diet – only to discover at the dentist that their child has cavities.

It can feel mortifying – not to mention completely unfair, especially when other children get away with eating far too much sugar and still enjoy healthy, happy smiles.

The fact is that some children are simply more vulnerable to cavities than others – statistics show that 80 percent of all cavities occur in just 25 percent of children aged 2-5. The reason all comes down to mutans streptococcus – the harmful bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay. Babies aren’t born with it, but mutans can be very easily transferred from a cavity-prone parent to their child – through sharing spoons or toothbrushes, for example. Once the baby’s mouth is colonised, cavities become a very likely consequence.

So what can parents do about this?

  1. Take control. Your dental health can affect your child, so the first thing to do is establish your own oral hygiene routine that will limit the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
  2. Be vigilant. Just as you would if you had a family history of high cholesterol or skin cancer, you need to be extra-careful about your child’s oral health, maintaining a robust brushing and flossing routine and reducing the amount of sugar in their diet.
  3. Bring babies to the dentist – ideally as young as 6 months. A paediatric dentist like Happy Kids Dental will conduct a full risk assessment and ensure baby’s mouth is free of plaque-causing bacteria. Then we’ll advise parents on how to look after those precious first teeth.
  4. Be fluoride-aware. If your child is at a higher risk of cavities, Happy Kids Dental will recommend preventive measures such as fluoride varnish and fissure sealants. We’ll prescribe the right toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for your child, and educate the whole family on the best cleaning techniques. Finally, we’ll help with diet and nutrition, making sure parents know about hidden sugars, balanced meals, snacking and fluoridated water.
  5. Place your trust in us. A paediatric dentist like Happy Kids Dental can offer personalised continuity of care as your child grows up. And if your child needs a filling, rest assured we have the most advanced technologies in place to treat children quickly in a fun, fear-free environment. Because we focus on building long-term relationships with our patients, we can boost compliance and foster confidence in preventing cavities.

Want to know more about how we create healthy, happy and cavity-free smiles? Pop into the practice for a tour, or call us on 020 7078 0822 to arrange a consultation!

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