Tag Archives: brushing for children

Cleft Lip and Palate and Dental Health

Cleft lip is a birth defect in which the parts of the face that form the upper lip remain split, instead of sealing together before birth. Similar splits can occur in the roof of the mouth or palate. Cleft lip and cleft palate can each occur alone or together in the same person (cleft lip and palate). Cleft lip and palate happen early in foetal development. The defect may be genetic or the result of maternal environmental exposures during pregnancy.

Along with affecting the appearance of the face, cleft lip and cleft palate can present a variety of difficulties, including:

-difficulty eating

-speech difficulties

-ear infections

-dental problems


Dental health

A cleft lip and palate can cause changes to the structure of the mouth and lead to problems with the development of teeth, making children more vulnerable to tooth decay. It is therefore important for the child to have their teeth checked regularly.

Tooth decay

Children with clefts are more likely to develop tooth decay. This is partly due to crowding of the teeth, which makes it more difficult to keep them clean. The advice below may help reduce your child’s risk of developing tooth decay.

  • Your child should have a dental check-up at least once every six months.
  • Using a fluoride mouthwash once a day will help protect your child’s teeth against decay.
  • Limit the amount of sweet and sticky food and drink your child consumes, especially between meals, as these foods increase tooth decay.
  • Limit the amount of starchy foods such as crisps, white bread and biscuits that your child eats, especially between meals, to lower the risk of tooth decay.

What Are Fissure Sealants?

Our back teeth have natural grooves and pits known as fissures.  Food can get stuck in the fissures and they are harder areas to clean when brushing which can increase the risk of tooth decay.  In the past they were commonly placed in children’s teeth and now there is new evidence to show that they can be as beneficial for adults.

Before and after fissure sealant placement

Before and after fissure sealant placement


What are sealants?

Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that stops food and bacteria getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing  tooth decay.


How do sealants work?

The sealant forms a smooth, protective barrier by covering all the little grooves and dips (pits and fissures) in the surface of the tooth. Dental decay easily starts in these grooves.


What are the benefits of sealants?

It is a simple and painless procedure which involves no drilling or injections.  Along with good maintenance of the mouth they can reduce the risk of needing a filling in the future by over 90%, which is kinder on your mouth and much more cost effective in the long term.


Which teeth should be sealed?

Sealants are only applied to the back teeth – the molars and premolars. These are the teeth that have pits and fissures on their biting surfaces. Some teeth naturally form with deep grooves which can be sealed, others form with shallow ones which may not need sealing.


When should this be done?

Sealants are often applied as soon as the adult teeth start to come through. This is usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they appear, which can be any time between 11 and 14.  They can however be applied at any age as the condition of our mouth and dental needs can change over time.


What is involved and is it painful?

Sealing is usually quick and straightforward, taking only a few minutes for each tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and then dried. The liquid sealant is then put onto the tooth and then set by using a blue light.  The procedure is completely pain free, you may just find it feels a bit strange on biting at first and you mouth may taste a bit funny.


How long does the sealants last?

Sealants usually last for many years, but your dentist will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes the dentist needs to add or replace some sealant to make sure that no decay can start underneath.


Do I still have to clean my teeth?

Yes.  This is really important. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal tooth brushing. It is important to clean your teeth well, maintain a balanced diet and visit your dentist regularly.  Pit and fissure sealing reduces tooth decay and the number of fillings you might need but cannot take the risk away if you don’t maintain your mouth


Where can I find out more about the treatment?

At Brightside Dental, all of our dentists and hygienists are experienced in the placement of fissure sealants.  We can give you more information about the treatment and whether it would be beneficial for you at your next visit.


If you don’t want to wait until then and would like advice please give us a call on 020 88884401.

How To Take Care Of Your Children’s Teeth

As a parent with two young children I’m fully aware how it can be difficult to brush their teeth well. I’ve gone through times where they refuse to open their mouth, biting on the toothbrush to throwing  a full blown tantrum.

Every child is unique and here are some tips that may help with brushing:

– Start to brush your baby’s gums at bath time even before teeth have come through. This can incorporate brushing as part of the daily routine.

– Start brushing your baby’s teeth with a small amount of age-appropriate fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth come through. The fluoride helps give added protection against tooth decay.

– Brush your child’s teeth for 2 minutes twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed.

– Use a small smear or pea sized amount of toothpaste as it is likely to be swallowed at a young age.

– Use a mirror so your child can easily see what they are doing.

– Supervise your child’s brushing until at least the age of 7 or 8 to ensure that they are brushing correctly and for the right amount of time. You may want to go over the teeth once they have finished.

– You may wish to use an egg timer or timing device for your child to know how long they are brushing for and this may make brush time more fun.

– Use of sticker charts can encourage children to brush regularly

Aquafresh have an app which my children love as you can see in the video. It’s great to encourage correct brushing and they are rewarded with stars with which they can dress up the nurdles.

Aquafresh Brushtime App Demonstrated By The Youngest Member of The Brightside Dental Team

Arrange a dental visit for your child at a young age – anytime from once teeth start coming through. This will get them used to the dental environment and more likely create a positive impression as they get older.

Ketan Shah