A young family of three children recently came to have a routine check-up with me. Their mum reported that all three children sometimes forgot to brush their teeth and even when they remembered to, they sometimes forgot to put toothpaste on their brushes! I was sure I could revolutionise teeth cleaning for this family, which would hopefully have a lifelong positive impact on the children’s future health.
I started by painting disclosing gel on the children’s teeth and then showed them in a mirror where their teeth had turned blue. This showed where plaque had built up because the children were missing certain areas when they brushed. I used a big model of a mouth and a toothbrush to show them how this happened. I demonstrated how to use a toothbrush properly but to help them maintain it when they got back home, I turned to electric toothbrushes which use modern smart technology.
Several recent models of electric toothbrushes combine with a smartphone app, which acts as an aid to better teeth cleaning and oral healthcare. But if these are too expensive, then free apps like Brush DJ are also designed to help young and old enjoy ‘brush-time’ and clean more effectively. Read the full story here here about what happened with this family when they started brushing their teeth properly.
Parents should regularly check their children’s gums. They should be pink, with an even tone throughout the mouth. If the area above one of the teeth is red and swollen, an infection may be the cause. Keep your eye open for bleeding gums. Although less common in children than adults, bleeding gums and bad breath can be a sign of early stage gum disease or gingivitis. It is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria. Some bacteria in plaque are harmless, but some are harmful for the health of your gums. If you don’t remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them, it builds up and irritates your gums. This can lead to redness with bleeding, swelling and soreness.
Remember, children are just as susceptible to tooth decay as adults. So, look out for signs such as a dull white band on the tooth surface closest to the gum line. This is the first sign and can often remain undetected by parents. Also, a yellow, brown or black band on the tooth surface closest to the gum line will indicate that the decay is getting worse. Finally, teeth that look like brownish-black stumps means that the child has advanced decay. If your children suddenly complain about hot or cold food being painful, or it starts to hurt when they chew or bite; these can also be signs that a trip to the dentist is necessary.
Revive Dental Care welcomes new NHS patients to join us at our practices in Monton, Davyhulme, Bexley Square Salford and Ancoats.