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Your teething baby – Everything you need to know

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If you’ve just had a baby, then you might be wondering when their first teeth will come through. Don’t worry: this blog post will give you the lowdown.

When does teething start?

Most babies start teething around 6 months of age. All babies are different however. Some don’t start teething until after 12 months. Others are at the other extreme and start teething in their first few weeks. In rare cases, babies are even born with one or two teeth. These are called ‘natal’ teeth. If the natal tooth isn’t attached to a root, the paediatrician might want to remove it to prevent the baby from accidental swallowing it.

The order babies’ teeth appear in

Different teeth come through at different times. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Usually the bottom front teeth are the first to come through. These typically appear at around 6 months.
  • The next teeth to appear are usually the top front teeth, which come through at around 7 months.
  • The teeth on either side of the front teeth are next. These appear at around 10 months.
  • The back teeth come through at around 14 months.
  • The canines (the sharp-looking teeth) appear at around 19 months.
  • Finally, the second molars (the teeth right at the back of the mouth) come through at around 2 years.

Most young children will have all their teeth at around 2.5 years of age.

Symptoms of teething

Teething sometimes causes symptoms such as:

  • Chewing on things a lot
  • Dribbling
  • Flushed cheeks, or just one flushed cheek
  • Sore gums
  • Fretful behaviour, such as crying

See your GP if your baby has any symptoms that concern you.

How to soothe your teething baby

Teething can sometimes cause discomfort and even mild pain for babies. This is usually normal, but there are some things you can do to help your baby.

Sometimes babies chew objects to ease their discomfort. Common items are toys, clothes, and even their own fingers! A safer alternative is teething rings. These rings are made of plastic or wood and are usually large enough to prevent your baby from swallowing them. Some teething rings can be put in the fridge before use – the coldness will help to soothe your baby’s mouth.

Another way to sooth a teething baby is with teething gels. These gels contain a mild anaesthetic that numb the pain around the erupting tooth. These gels can be used safely on babies aged more than four months. Speak to your GP however before using gels on babies younger than four months. Also, never use adult pain relief gel on babies; always use a teething gel that’s made specifically for young children.

If your baby is over six months old then you can give them food to chew on, such as pieces of bread, carrot, or apple. However, never leave your baby alone with food in case they choke.

Register with a dentist

Don’t forget to register your baby with a dentist when their first teeth come through. We like to think we’re a good choice, so don’t be shy and contact us today!

Posted in: General Dentistry

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How to take care of your childrens teeth

Girl in dentists chair toothbrushing a model

Some parents wonder whether it’s worth taking care of their children’s first teeth because the adult teeth will replace them anyway. But good oral hygiene in childhood is a cornerstone of healthy teeth in adulthood, especially now when it’s coming up to Christmas. So from brushing to sugar to dentist visits, this post will show you how to take care of your children’s teeth.

Brushing

The foundation of any oral hygiene routine is brushing, and children are no exception to this. You should begin to brush your children’s teeth as soon as their first teeth appear, which is typically around the age of four to seven months.

Some dentists recommend parents to brush their babies’ teeth with water because babies tend to swallow toothpaste and the fluoride can be harmful. However, we do recommend fluoride toothpaste because it’s better at protecting teeth. One compromise is children’s toothpaste, which has less fluoride than adult toothpaste. If you do go down this route, ensure the toothpaste actually contains enough fluoride to do its job: at least 1,000ppm fluoride is needed. You should also use toothpaste sparingly on young children. Children under the age of seven shouldn’t be brushing with more than a pea-sized blob.

Some children dislike brushing their teeth, and this is entirely normal. However, it’s still important that children do brush their teeth. You can encourage them by brushing your teeth at the same time as them. Also, flavoured toothpaste can make brushing more enjoyable for children.

Seeing a dentist

It’s a good idea to take your child to the dentist as soon as their baby teeth have started appearing. This is because the dentist can check to ensure that the teeth are erupting normally, and they will also check your baby’s mouth for any sign of other problems. Another advantage of early dental visits is it helps your child get used to going to the dentist. Unfortunately, many children are apprehensive about dental appointments, and this fear can continue into adulthood and cause poor dental health. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get your child used to the dentist by taking your child at an early age.

Sugar

It’s a fact that kids love sugar. Unfortunately though, plaque loves sugar just as much as kids do! It doesn’t help that sugar is found in so many foods these days. One way to manage your kids’ sugar intake is to read the back of food packets. This will allow you to determine how much sugar is in each food. Snacks such as dried fruit, cereal bars, fruit juice, and fruit rolls are among the worst culprits for sugar. You might think that dried fruit would be healthy, but it’s actually one of the worst snacks you can give to a child. That’s because it contains around 60 g of sugar per 100 g of fruit, and it also gets stuck between teeth easily where it can stay for hours. For healthier snacks, try popcorn, cheese, peanut butter, milk, or sliced apple, and keep the sugar just to special occasions.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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5 ways to take better care of your teeth

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Taking good care of your teeth is important to remove plaque and to reduce the long-term risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Yet despite this, many people only use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their teeth, even though there are several other additional ways you can use to ensure your teeth stay healthy.

Floss

Dentists recommend that everyone should floss, because it removes plaque and food from between your teeth where your toothbrush simply can’t reach. In fact, you should floss every night before brushing, and you may also need to floss during the day if food gets regularly stuck in your teeth. If you’ve never flossed before, then you should expect some minor gum bleeding when you first start, while your gums get used to the abrasion. Remember to pay special attention to the teeth at the back of your mouth, because these are the teeth hardest to reach, and therefore usually the most neglected.

Mouthwash

Mouthwash is not just for keeping your breath fresh – it can also reduce plaque and gum disease. But don’t make the common mistake of rinsing your mouth with water afterwards, because this will reduce the effectiveness of the mouthwash. Also, be careful when giving mouthwash to young children, because if they are not properly shown how to use it, they may accidentally swallow the rinse.

Electric toothbrush

You may think an electric toothbrush is an unnecessary expense, but they are actually better at removing plaque than regular toothbrushes. Try to buy one with oscillating heads (these are heads that rotate in opposite directions) as this is the most effective type of electric toothbrush.

Brushing properly

Even if you’re brushing your teeth the recommended minimum of two times a day, your efforts could still be going to waste if you’re not brushing them properly. For example, you may be neglecting to brush certain areas well enough, leading to plaque build-up in these areas. If you think this may be the case, then you can buy plaque disclosing tablets, which will help reveal any trouble spots. These tablets will dye any plaque left over after brushing and thereby highlight any areas you missed. But also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t brush with too much force, as this can prematurely wear down the enamel protecting your teeth. If your teeth are sensitive in particular areas, then this could be a sign you’re brushing too hard. Instead, use small circular movements rather than large heavy movements. You can even ask your dentist to watch you brushing your teeth, and they can then advise you on your technique.

Get a regular check-up

Finally, you should see a dentist regularly, because problems are much easier to solve if they’re caught early. The NHS recommends that adults go for a check-up at least every two years, though you will probably need to go more frequently if you have existing problems. Children, on the other hand, should see the dentist at least once a year.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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Could your early morning headache be linked to your teeth?

Are headaches linked to health?

Headaches are so common that many people experiencing them choose not to seek medical advice, regardless of the severity and frequency of the headaches. Most people either put no thought into the cause of their headache, accepting it as a nuisance of life, or believe it has been triggered by stress. While headaches are often caused by anxiety, a surprising number of headaches are actually linked to a dental imbalance.

There are a number of different types of headache, including migraines and sinus headaches, but the most common headache, and the one most often linked to dental imbalance, is the tension headache. This headache is characterised by a mild, throbbing pain of variable duration and frequency. Tension headaches don’t often stop a person from carrying out a daily task and over-the-counter painkillers are often sufficient to treat them. The most probable cause is muscle tension, triggered either from stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, or overexertion to name a few. But dental pain can also be a leading cause of muscle tension and is therefore just as likely to be a key factor in the initiation of these types of headaches.

A dental condition that often exists alongside tension headaches is temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), a complex condition encompassing dysfunctions associated with the jaw joint and muscles relating to it. An estimated 40% of the population suffer from this and 4% suffer to such an extent that treatment is required.

A leading cause of TMD is bruxism, a parafunctional (not normal) activity involving excessive clenching or grinding of the jaw. Its effects are usually visible on examination and make reaching a diagnosis relatively easy. The most common signs are horizontal ridges along the inside of the cheeks, a scalloped tongue and worn teeth. In instances where the bruxist clenches the jaw but doesn’t grind, diagnosis can be more difficult as worn teeth are not present.

Because bruxists use their jaw muscles a lot more than usual, headaches are likely. This is often noticed in the early mornings after a poor night’s sleep: bruxists may spend the majority of the night with a clenched jaw.

Another possible dentally-related cause of headaches, unrelated to bruxism and TMD in the sense that the headache is not due to muscle tension, is referred pain. This is a type of pain sensed at a site away from the stimulus. The pain experienced during toothache is sensed by a nerve that has many branches throughout the face. It is possible that the pain can be referred to the head, much like how a heart attack is often felt in the shoulders and arm rather than the chest.

Treating a dental-based headache requires finding the root of the problem. If the issue is due to referred pain, the culprit tooth should be treated. Dentists will always eliminate the likelihood of tooth decay/damage as the cause of tension headaches before progressing to treat a more serious condition like TMD.

TMDs can have many causes and finding the right one is important in pain management. If the TMD is initiated from bruxism, treatment can involve stress-counseling and hypnotherapy, though the primary treatment plan usually includes the making of a splint for nightly use. The splint (often known as a Michigan splint or a stabilisation splint) is a plastic guard worn over of the upper teeth. It protects the teeth from further damage and opens the bite enough to attempt to reduce the episodes of grinding.

Because the awareness of dental-related headaches is on the rise, more research is going into their management and treatment. An interesting device, known as a Sleep Clenching Inhibitor (SCi device), has been developed to do exactly what its name suggests! It is a small, tailor-made block that sits comfortably between your front teeth at night to stop grinding and helps relax the jaw muscles, similarly to a splint.

If you think your headaches are caused either by your teeth, jaw or bite, speak to one of our dentists who will be able to offer you a full assessment and discuss treatment options.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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