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Oral Health for Toddlers and Young Children

If good habits for healthy teeth begin in early childhood it is much more likely that they will continue as children grow older.

  • Make sure your child….
    • Visits the dentist by the age of one and maintains appointments as often as the dentist recommends
    • Brushes their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste (no less that 1000ppm) – you can try using reward charts to remind and encourage your child
    • Is supervised and helped with brushing until they are about seven years old
    • Uses a pea sized blob of toothpaste, if over three years old and is able to spit out
    • Uses the ‘spit don’t rinse’ rule so that the fluoride is not washed away
    • Brushes for two minutes – you can use timers or play songs to help keep to time, try BrushDJ
    • Has a lower sugar ‘tooth friendly’ diet – there is information on healthy eating *here*
    • Mostly drinks tap water or milk -using an open cup rather than a bottle or a beaker with a valve
    • Always brushes their teeth before bed
    • Sees their carers taking care of their teeth too.

  • Some adults are nervous or dislike going to the dentist. Sometimes these worries affect how children feel about going, too. If this is you, try to avoid negative ideas about the dentist.

    Instead, talk about how the dentist is going to look at your child’s mouth and count their teeth. They may even get a sticker!

    Where possible, take your child along with you to your routine check-up where they can experience the different people, sounds and smells.

    It is important that children are seen by a dentist and there are a few things you can do to prepare them for their visits:

    • Let your dentist know – they will have techniques to help
    • If your dental team are not sensitive about your child’s feelings - consider registering with a different practice
    • Talk about what will happen at the dentist – talk about the people, noises and smells. There are a lot of children's books about visiting the dentist – ask at your local library
    • Make believe going to the dentist – you or a favourite toy can be the patient!
    • Make sure you talk positively about visiting the dentist
    • If you have your own fears about the dentist try to hide them from your child. Now might be a good time to get some help with your own anxiety.
    • Help your child use relaxation techniques, there are lots available on the internet – you can find one example here
    • Plan a treat after the dentist – like a trip to the park or watching a favourite film

    If you feel that your child’s worry about the dentist is really troubling them and makes attending dental appointments almost impossible call ‘JustOneNumber’ on the contact details below to discuss what you might do next


Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

Alternatively you can go to see your GP to discuss concerns.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum. CLICK HERE

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