In terms of teeth, the shark has got it made. They never need to worry about decay or gaps because they replace any teeth that get broken or fall out. And fall out they do, because sharks’ teeth don’t have any roots.
People are not like that. We get one set of adult teeth, with roots, and when they fall out, we don’t grow another tooth to fill the gap. We get 32 teeth and that’s our lot. Our teeth are literally irreplaceable and that’s why it is very important that our kids learn to take really good care of them.
Sadly, tooth decay among the children of the UK is still very high. This may be due to the amount of sugar in their diets. A survey in September 2014 found that 12% of 3-year-olds had cavities. A particular kind of decay shows up on the front teeth and then spreads rapidly, and is caused by drinking sugary drinks from a spouted cup when children are being weaned.
This is totally avoidable if you bring your child to the dentist for regular check-ups.
Getting a check-up
At Wimbledon Dental Care in Wimbledon, children’s teeth are checked very carefully for decay from the time they first appear. This is when we recommend you start bringing your child in for check-ups. We also recommend that you bring them in before that. Bringing them along to your own appointments will habituate them to the dental environment. They will feel more relaxed in their first check-up, maybe even eager, if they have already seen mummy and daddy and older siblings, if you have any, in the dentist’s chair.
As children’s teeth are so susceptible to decay, we offer 2 treatments that provide extra protection. Fluoride can be painted onto the teeth to mineralise the enamel against decay. We can also paint sealant onto the back molars. This covers the fissures in the chewing surfaces, where decay tends to occur. Seeing young patients also allows us to keep an eye out for issues with the bite and spot teeth that are going to come through out of alignment.