Real mums dental questions and real Dentists answers.
From the moment they are born you are checking for teeth. The answer to why your child cries until the age of 4 is normally some how led back to teeth and from then on they start falling out and the cycle starts all over again. Teeth is a huge topic. So many questions and google gives you so many answers but we wanted to get straight to the ROOT… ( bum dum chhhh) We got in touch with Katie CEO of HaBox and General Dentist to find out about alllll things teeth.
Q: How important are baby teeth?? What if we promise to do better with the adult teeth 😬😅
A: The thought of the baby teeth being temporary is such a relief for most parents because it is HARD to get children to brush well, and not want to eat sugar. It is even harder for busy, stretched parents to not cave with these things because that is just how life is sometimes! So temporary baby teeth give parents some much-needed relief from the parent guilt.
But baby teeth are very important for many technical dental reasons including holding the space for adult teeth avoiding crowding of the adult teeth. On a more holistic note, any cause of decay or dental disease is a result of habits, eating habits, brushing habits, etc. If baby teeth become decayed, you can guarantee adult ones will too, because once habits have been formed they are hard to get out of!
My advice would be, first of all, give yourself a break, it is hard to look after teeth, secondly, lean HARD on your dentist and hygienist, they can support you with practical advice to try and get into good habits while your children still have baby teeth to practice on!
Q: How important are regular dentist appointment's, even if they look beautiful and pearly healthy white to you and when should you start taking them?
A: If you already go to the dentist, try and take your baby with you for your check-ups. This gets them used to the way the dentist surgery smells, sounds and looks. It will also really help you form healthy tooth habits from a really young age.
The British Society of Paediatric Dentists advises that children have a check-up when their first tooth erupts or when they turn 1, whichever is sooner. Your dentists, hygienists, and nurses will be able to give you advice about your oral health routines, teething, and food.
Q: What are your thoughts on keeping your kids teeth when they fall out? Gross or?? Trying to figure out if the kids will care in 30 years if I have their teeth in a box in my top draw or not?
A: My Mum still has a pot of my baby teeth and I’m a 34-year-old dentist. I think it is completely normal to keep your child's baby teeth. In fact, there are now companies that will harvest children's teeth for stem cells in the hope that one day they can make new teeth if you ever lose one! (https://futurehealthbiobank.com/)
Q: When is it ok to start brushing and using toothpaste. And what’s the difference between all the toothpaste. Surely the ones that taste like bubblegum can’t be good for their nashers?
A: As soon as the first tooth appears, you should aim to brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. As a general rule, if your toothpaste has your babies age on the side of it then you can be reasonably confident it is the right one. Take it with you to your check-ups if you are not sure and your dentist can check for you.
The flavoured ones are safe for teeth, but it is crucial you minimise swallowing, as this is not good for you. Use only a small flat smear of toothpaste (not like you see on the adverts!)
Q: Are some teeth more prone to cavities etc than others. No matter how well you look after them?
A: In some very rare circumstances teeth can be soft and prone to cavities. But there is a general misconception around “genetics and bad teeth”. In most cases, it is a simple case of sugar too often. Teeth can’t handle regular sugar, which is why we advise sugar at mealtimes only (limiting sugar to 3 times a day). Chances are if you have “soft teeth” you are a grazer.
Try and keep all eating and drinking to mealtimes (there are safe snacks you can eat at any time, but this can be very confusing, see myhabox.co.uk/toothytips for more info)
Q: Thoughts on baby-led teeth brushing? and electric toothbrushes ?? What age are these a good idea?
A: Children have not developed their fine motor skills enough to be able to brush well independently until they are around 7 years old. We advise brushing twice daily as soon as their first tooth appears. Brush for them with a small flat smear of toothpaste and if they are keen to have a go after you have finished that is always positive.
Electric toothbrushes work very well, but we have found anecdotally that children find these sensations uncomfortable when they have “wobbly” teeth. In adults, electric is best, always. In children, whatever works for you and your children, but be prepared for some switching!
Q: Black teeth. Anyone who has a kid that enjoys extreme baby sports will be no stranger to the rogue black tooth? why does this happen? can it be corrected? Will it be black forever!
A: Teeth turn black when they have died. This is usually because it has been knocked/traumatised in some way. It can happen in baby teeth and adult teeth. Baby teeth will fall out, but sometimes the adult tooth underneath can be damaged by the trauma. Sadly, you won’t know if this has happened until the adult tooth starts to erupt. You should have the teeth checked by your dentist, sometimes it is best if the baby tooth is removed.
Q: Adult teeth coming through wonky! When does this become a problem? And what age do you go down the braces route?
A: This is such a common concern for parents and their children. Generally speaking, in the UK we don’t start orthodontic (braces) treatment until all the adult teeth have erupted. This can be anywhere between 12-15 years old. Very occasionally, your dentist may refer your child early, if there is a problem that could be fixed with braces when they are in the mixed dentition (both baby and adult teeth). The key is to keep them clean, which can be hard if they are coming in at some funny angles, use disclosing tablets (the purple staining ones) to show up the plaque and focus on technique. If in doubt, ask your dentist, they will be able to advise if you need an early referral, and we keep a close eye on how things are developing at every check-up.
Q: One for the mums, can teeth whitening get rid of the coffee stains? How bad is it for your teeth?
A: The best thing for removing staining is to see your hygienist! This will remove staining safely. The main culprits for staining are tea, coffee, red wine, and smoking!
If you want whiter teeth (to change the shade of them, rather than remove staining) then vital bleaching with your dentist is the only way to do this legally. You can have in surgery bleaching or home bleaching. Your dentist can advise which is best for you. It is 100% safe when done by a dental professional. It won’t affect the structure of your teeth, and in most cases, your shade will jump at least 6 shades whiter!
There are lots of companies selling bleaching kits out there, they don’t work, like at all, because they don’t contain bleach, so my advice would be not to waste your money.
Answers written by
CEO of Habox & General Dentist
Katie became a dentist in 2010. It didn’t take long for her to realise that children’s dentistry was her forte, and took even less time to realise that most children and their parents faced similar challenges. She works in Wiltshire as a dentist, and she is on a mission to save children teeth with Habox. (www.myhabox.co.uk)
Habox is here to make mornings less stressful and your children's teeth healthy. Suitable for all children from birth. You'll get dentist-approved toothbrushes, toothpaste and habit formation tools to your door every 3 months. Habox makes toothbrushing fun & takes away the stresses of the bathroom battle! No more dramas, no more tears, just healthy happy teeth!