Dental health

Healthy teeth are an important part of your child’s overall health. It’s a good idea for your child to establish good habits early in life in order to protect her teeth against cavities.

Cavities are also known as caries. Certain bacteria in the mouth can convert sugar, which is present in what we eat and drink, into acid. This acid can corrode the surface of teeth and cause caries. A child’s first teeth, the milk teeth, are extra sensitive as their outer protective layer of enamel is very thin. This is why you need to brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as your child’s first tooth appears. Fluoride toothpaste strengthens your child’s teeth. Children who get caries in their milk teeth are at greater risk of getting caries in their permanent teeth as well.

Once your child is no longer being fed breast milk or infant formula, she will in most cases no longer need to eat or drink anything during the night, except for water if she becomes thirsty. When your child begins eating ordinary food her teeth will need to rest between meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus two or three snacks, is a suitable number of meals giving your child’s teeth at least a two-hour break between meals. Water does not cause caries, and so is the best drink when your child is thirsty – between meals as well.

Food and drink that contain sugar are particularly harmful for your child’s teeth. Sweets, cakes, ice cream, juice, soft drinks and cordials are all examples of the kind of sugary foods that don’t provide the nutrition you child needs to grow either. It’s good to avoid giving your child sweets, other sugary foods or snacks for as long as possible. Children who eat sweets or snacks need help in limiting their intake. This applies to how much they eat as well as how often. Sweets, ice cream and other sugary foods are least harmful when eaten as dessert. If your child drinks sweet beverages from a baby bottle there is a possibility that her teeth will be affected by the sugar for extended periods of time, which increases the risk of caries.

If you don’t have municipal tap water at home, and instead use water from a private well, you need to test for the fluoride content of the well’s water. You can request testing of a sample free of charge. Ask the nurse at BVC the first time you visit.

From when your child’s first tooth appears

·        Brush your child’s teeth in the morning and at night using a mild baby toothpaste that contains fluoride.

·        Make sure your child falls asleep at night with clean teeth.

·        Allow your child’s teeth to ”rest” for at least two hours between meals.

·        Give your child water to drink when she is thirsty. It’s fine for her to drink water while her teeth are ”resting” between meals.


When do the milk teeth appear?

It is common for children to get their first teeth between 6 and 10 months. The front teeth of the upper and lower jaw are the first teeth to appear. Then the teeth on either side appear. The last teeth to appear are those farthest back in the mouth.


Contact Folktandvården, the Public Dental Health Services

Contact Folktandvården whenever you have questions about your child’s teeth and mouth. Also contact Folktandvården for advice if your child should damage her teeth. The nurse at BVC can help you get in touch with Folktandvården.


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