Free NHS dentist treatment for under 18’s, or under 19 and in full-time education:
Did you know that your child gets free NHS dentist treatment if they are under 18, or under 19 and in full-time education?
It is recommended that you should take your child to the dentist when their first milk teeth appear. This is so they become familiar with the environment and get to know the dentist. The dentist can help prevent decay and identify any oral health problems at an early stage.
After this initial visit, it is important to take your child for regular dental check-up as advised by the dentist. They will base the amount of time between check-ups depending on how healthy the teeth and gums are and any risk of future problems.
What can you do to encourage a healthy routine around teeth?
We all know that children love to copy the people around them, so it is important that you brush your teeth in front of your child as often as possible. This helps children to see the importance of a regular teeth-cleaning routine and offers a good start for their own dental health.
Below are tips that can help you keep your children’s teeth decay-free (The information below is taken directly from the NHS website for more information please go to www.nhs.uk and search children’s teeth):
- Start brushing your baby's teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through (usually at around six months, but it can be earlier or later). It's important to use a fluoride paste, as this helps to prevent and control tooth decay.
- There's no need to buy special "children's toothpaste" brands. In fact, some of them don’t have enough fluoride in them to help prevent tooth decay.
- Children from the age of seven can use family toothpaste, as long as it contains 1,350-1,500 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. Check the toothpaste packet if you're not sure, or ask your dentist.
- Children up to the age of six who don't have tooth decay can use a lower-strength toothpaste, but make sure it contains at least 1,000ppm fluoride.
- Make sure children don't eat or lick toothpaste from the tube.
- Below the age of three years, children should use just a smear of toothpaste.
- Children aged three to six should use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste.
Tooth brushing tips
- Brush your child's teeth for about two minutes twice a day: once just before bedtime and at least one other time during the day.
- Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste, but not to rinse with lots of water. Rinsing with water after tooth brushing will wash away the fluoride and make it less effective.
- Supervise tooth brushing until your child is seven or eight years old, either by brushing their teeth yourself or, if they brush their own teeth, by watching how they do it. From the age of seven or eight, they should be able to brush their own teeth, but it's still a good idea to watch them now and again to make sure they brush properly and for about two minutes.
How to help children brush their teeth properly
- Guide your child's hand so they can feel the correct movement.
- Use a mirror to help your child see exactly where the brush is cleaning their teeth.
- Make tooth brushing as fun as possible by using an egg timer to time it for about two minutes.
- Don't let children run around with a toothbrush in their mouth, as they may have an accident and hurt themselves.
It is important to brush last thing at night and at least one other time during the day.
It is especially important to brush before bed because the flow of saliva, which is the mouth’s own cleaning system, slows down during the night and this leaves the mouth more at risk from decay.