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Great Smiles and Family Dental Care

When should I take my child to the dentist?

It is recommended that children come to see us with their parents as soon as possible. Att Notley Dental Care would normally start seeing them at the age of 2. You should then take them regularly, as often as your dentist recommends. This will let them get used to the noises, smells and surroundings and prepare them for future visits.

How often should my child brush their teeth?

Brushing is key in maintaining healthy teeth – not only does it remove remnants of food, but dangerous dental plaque as well. Dental plaque is comprised of bacteria and metabolic waste products. The bacteria multiply rapidly and produce acid that can attack the enamel of the teeth and produce caries.
Our at Notley Dental Care Hygienists/Therapist are specially trained to teach children how to brush their teeth effectively. We recommend you seek advice on your child’s specific teeth health in order to tailor your brushing techniques to their particular needs.
 We highly recommend and explain to the children to:

  • Brush at least twice a day – First thing in the morning and before bedtime. If possible also brush after lunch and sweet snacks
  • Brush all the teeth, not just the front ones
  • Spend at least 2 or 3 minutes brushing
  • Use a brush with soft bristles
  • Change toothbrushes every three months

At what age should I let my child clean their teeth?

Most children don’t really have the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth properly until about the age of seven or eight, so we’d advise giving them a hand at least once a day to ensure the teeth are brushed properly. Our hygienist is happy to show you and your child the most effective way of brushing their teeth. Alternatively we have leaflets available if you require further advice on caring for your child’s teeth.

What are the benefits of Fluoride?

Fluoride can greatly help dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. It also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria produce on your teeth.
Children who have fluoride when their teeth are developing tend to have shallower grooves in their teeth so plaques can be more easily removed.

Where can I find Fluoride?

Fluoride is found naturally in many foods and water supplies, and also added to some drinking water supplies.
One part of fluoride for every million parts of water (1ppm) has been shown to have the best effect. All water contains some fluoride. Your local water supplier can tell you the level of fluoride in your drinking water.

What about Fluoride in Toothpaste?

Most toothpaste contains fluoride and many people get their fluoride this way as it is very effective in preventing tooth decay. The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is usually enough to lower the level of decay. Parents should supervise their children’s tooth brushing and use only a smear or pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste until they are about seven years old.

Should my child have extra Fluoride?

Your dentist or hygienist can apply fluorides to your child’s teeth. These come as gels and are more concentrated, self-applied fluorides and therefore are not needed as often.

What are Fluoride’s side effects?

Having too much fluoride when the teeth are developing causes ‘Dental fluorosis’. This can happen when children under 7 who live in areas where the water supply is fluoridated take fluoride supplements. It can also happen when children swallow toothpaste.
Fluorosis in its mildest form appears as very fine pearly white lines or flecking on the surface of the teeth. This mild fluorosis may lead to the enamel being pitted and discoloured. Fortunately, severe fluorosis is rare in the UK.

Is Fluoride safe?

Many reports have been published throughout the world about the pros and cons of fluoride. After many years, the scientific conclusion is that fluoride toothpaste and correctly fluoridated water are of great benefit to dental health and help to reduce decay – causing no harmful side effects to general health.
When will my child’s teeth fall out?

What causes dental decay?
Dental decay happens when the enamel and dentine of a tooth become softened by acid – producing a cavity

Dental decay is caused by plaque acids that gradually dissolve away the enamel and dentine of the tooth to produce a cavity. Dental decay is the same as tooth decay and is also known as ‘dental caries’. Decay damages your teeth and may lead to the tooth needing to be filled, crowned or even extracted.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a thin, sticky film that forms on your teeth. It contains many types of bacteria.

Why do my teeth decay?

Decay happens when sugars in food and drinks react with the bacteria in plaque – forming acids. Every time you eat or drink anything containing sugars, the bacterium reacts with it to form acid. These acids attack the teeth and start to dissolve the enamel. The attacks can last for an hour after eating or drinking, before the natural salts in your saliva cause the enamel to ‘remineralise’ and harden again.
It’s not just sugars that are harmful – other types of carbohydrate foods and drinks react with plaque to form acid as well. Snacking on sugary or acidic foods and drinks can increase the risk of decay as the teeth come under constant attack and do not have time to recover. It is therefore important not to keep snacking on sugary foods or sipping on sugary drinks throughout the day.

What does dental decay look like?

In the early stages of dental decay there are no symptoms. At Notley Dental Care we may be able to spot an early cavity when we examine or x-ray your child’s teeth.
Toothache is a sign that your child should see the dentist immediately, as it is a warning that something is wrong. If you don’t do anything, this will usually make matters worse, and your child may lose a tooth that could otherwise have been saved.

How do I protect my child’s teeth against decay?
The best way to prevent dental decay is by brushing the teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, making sure the inner, outer and biting surfaces are covered. After brushing do NOT rinse out just spit out the excess paste so that some remains on the teeth and allows the fluoride to stay in place. It is also imperative to use dental floss to help remove plaque and food from between your teeth and gum line. These are areas a toothbrush can’t reach.
Finally, be sure to visit the dentist regularly – as often as recommended, and try not to give your child sugary and acidic food and drinks. Avoid giving snacks between meals and chew sugar free gum, preferably with Xylotol which helps in the production of saliva – neutralising any acids that have been formed.

What foods should my children eat and not eat?

What your child eats affects their teeth – too many carbohydrates, sugar, and starches can potentially cause tooth decay. The best thing a parent can do is to teach your child to make healthy food choices:
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Cheeses
  • Avoid sticky, chewy foods
  • Serve sugary treats with meals, not as snacks
  • Have your child eat as few snacks as possible
  • Avoid sugary foods that linger on teeth
  • Buy foods that are sugar free or unsweetened
  • Offer your child plain water instead of juice or soda
  • Include good sources of calcium in your child’s diet

Your child’s diet has a great influence on the health of their teeth; the better the child is nourished, the lower the risk of decay. Often the nutritive value of a diet is badly understood and can lead to the loss of the substance of the teeth – through our diet analysis we try to help your child maintain a good oral health.


My child’s permanent teeth seem to be a lot yellower than their first teeth. Is this a problem?

No, permanent teeth are a lot larger and harder than primary teeth. The enamel or outer layer of the teeth is more translucent so the underlying colour shines through to a greater degree. They often look worse in comparison to the remaining primary teeth, but when all the adult teeth have erupted your child’s teeth will look pleasantly white if kept clean.


When will my child’s new teeth come through?