Children Aged between 3 and 11 years old
Encourage your child to drink water in between meals. Squash and other drinks are fine if they are drunk at mealtimes, all at once. The same applies to sweets and chocolate. Ideally, it is better for your teeth to eat three main meals a day and to limit snacking in-between.
Each time you eat and drink anything other than water, the environment in your mouth becomes acidic, which weakens the teeth and causes hydroxyapetite, a mineral that strengthens enamel to leach out, it takes approximately one hour for your saliva to buffer this acidity and the hydroxyapatite to return to your teeth, strengthening them. When your saliva does not have the time to buffer, this is how holes begin to appear in your teeth, known as tooth decay.
Sugar-free medicines are readily available.
From three years old your child can use the same toothpaste as you, as long as it contains 1450ppm fluoride (this can be found on the back of the tube). They should brush their teeth twice a day, once in the morning when they wake up and once in the evening before bed. They should wait at least an hour before brushing after eating.
After brushing, they should spit out any excess toothpaste and not rinse their mouths out with water or mouthwash, this is because the fluoride in the toothpaste helps to strengthen the teeth and if rinsed, it is washed away.
Between the ages of 3 and 11 years old, your child will experience many changes within their mouth, they will lose baby teeth and their adult teeth will start to erupt. This can create gaps, these are nothing to worry about, your dentist will be monitoring their development at every routine examination and will discuss each developmental stage as they arise. Every child is different and although there are ages given at when each tooth should erupt, these are only guidelines as every child is different, if you have any concerns please discuss with your dentist.
When the first adult, back teeth (known as molars) appear your child will be between 6 and 8 years old. It is recommended that they have these teeth fissure sealed. This is when a paint is painted on the biting surface of the teeth to smooth them, thus making it easier for your child to clean them and reducing the risk of decay. Please ask your dentist about this at your next appointment.