Welcome to the parents section of our website.

Here at 543 Dental Centre we have a holistic approach to dental care. We encourage the whole family to embrace good oral health routines and habits as we know how poor oral health can have a negative impact our general health. Research has shown how periodontal disease( gum disease) has been linked to coronary heart disease and strokes and that small changes in our toothbrushing techniques can prevent the onset of periodontal disease in later life.

In this section you will find lots of information regarding healthy snacks, help with toothbrushing techniques and guidance on which dental treatments are available for your child at different stages in their development.

Take a look at the children’s section of this website which is categorised into different age groups and see how we have made looking after teeth fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

Click the questions below to see our answers but if your question isn't answered then don't hesitate to email info@543dentalcentre.co.uk or call 01482 565488

What toothpaste can my child use?

Children under the age of 3 should use a smear of toothpaste that contains 1000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride.

Children aged 3 years and over should use a pea sized amount of toothpaste that contains 1350-1500 parts per million (ppm) fluoride.


What are the benefits of fluoride?

Fluoride has been researched for over 50 years and water fluoridation has been proven to cut dental decay by 40 to 60%. Fluoride is present in many different natural sources, but can also be artificially added to our drinking water. A level of one part in a million has been shown to be most effective.

Fluoride can greatly help dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. One part of fluoride for every million parts of water (1ppm) is considered enough.

Is it in my water supply?

Yes, but the natural level is too low to be of benefit to our teeth. Only around 10% of the UK population’s water supply – mainly the Midlands and the North East has water fluoridation. The exact amount depends on which area you live in.

Where else can I find fluoride?

Fluoride is also in salt and tea, and some countries artificially add fluoride to their table salt and milk.


How can I use fluoride to improve the dental health of my family?

Follow these simple steps:

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste twice a day with 1350-1500 ppmf (adult toothpaste) from the age of 3.

  • Spit, don’t rinse, think of the toothpaste as a night cream for teeth – regenerating and renewing tooth enamel!

  • Bring your children to the dentist for a fluoride varnish application at least twice a year, more if the dentist recommends it.

  • If your child is at higher risk of dental decay for example if they have braces on their teeth or because of excessive or frequent sugar consumption, consider a further supplement such as a mouthwash or high dose toothpaste. The dentist will suggest the correct formulation, as this depends on the age of the child.


What is a fluoride varnish?

This is a very quick and simple procedure carried out by specially trained dental nurses, which involves a gel being painted onto the teeth using a soft brush.

The gel has a fruity taste which will temporarily colour the teeth for 1-3 days until it gradually wears off. The fluoride varnish helps to strengthen the tooth enamel making it more resistant to dental decay.


When should my child’s baby teeth start to fall out?

Baby teeth will begin to work themselves loose around the ages of five or six years. Usually it’s the lower incisors followed by the upper incisors at the very front of the mouth.

At around six, your child will also begin to grow their first permanent molars. These come through at the back of the mouth behind the very last baby tooth. Unfortunately, these teeth can decay quite quickly as they are right at the back of the mouth which makes them difficult to reach with a toothbrush. It’s important you help your child with toothbrushing until they reach the age of seven or eight.

The remainder of their baby teeth will gradually be replaced by permanent teeth over the next four to five years. At the age of twelve you will notice a second permanent molar will erupt behind the first permanent molar. By the time your child is thirteen most, if not all of the baby teeth will have been replaced.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, usually begin to arrive in the late teens, although not everyone gets them. The Dentist may take an xray to determine if your child has wisdom teeth and if there is enough room for them.


When a child has a mixture of baby and permanent teeth it’s very clear to see some are whiter than others. Once all of the permanent teeth have come through they take on a more even colour. If you are concerned about the appearance discuss it with the dentist at their next appointment.


How do I encourage my child to brush regularly?

Some children are very reluctant to brush their teeth whilst others love doing it! It’s important to make toothbrushing part of your child’s daily routine from a very early age. Ideally, a toothbrush should be introduced when the child is teething. This will help them to get used to the feel of a toothbrush in their mouth and also be used as a teething aid.

Use a small toothbrush especially for babies and gently massage the gums with the bristles in a circular motion.


As soon as you see the first bit of tooth poking through the gum you can use a smear of family toothpaste containing fluoride to gently brush the tooth. The fluoride in the toothpaste will help to strengthen the enamel of your child’s teeth. A good indication of how much to use for children over three is approximately the size of a small pea.

How often should I brush teeth?

Ideally, teeth should be brushed twice a day, in the morning and last thing at night. Brushing should take at least two minutes. Use a timer or perhaps a CD. Most songs last around two minutes.

When you brush make sure you angle the bristles so that they are on the gums as well as the teeth. Gently use a small circular motion starting at the back of the mouth on the outside surfaces of the upper teeth and work your way slowly around to the other side.

Next brush the insides, again starting at the back working your way around to the other side. Lastly, brush the biting surfaces of the molar teeth using a short scrubbing motion ensuring any remaining food debris has been removed. And do the same for the lower teeth.

Encourage your child to spit out any foam left in their mouth. Do not let your child rinse out after brushing as this will wash the fluoride off the teeth and will reduce the benefit of using toothpaste.

Although it is essential for parents to brush a very young child’s teeth and to supervise a slightly older child brushing their teeth, it is still important children learn how to manipulate the toothbrush around their mouth.

Disclosing tablets

For slightly older children, disclosing tablets could be used. These are tablets of vegetable dye which stain the plaque on teeth a different colour so that we can see where it is. Your child then has to brush their teeth until all the colour has disappeared leaving lovely clean teeth behind! You can buy tablets from your Dentist and some larger supermarkets and chemists stock them too.

Brush DJ

Brush DJ is an award-winning, free toothbrush timer app that plays 2 minutes of music taken from the user's device to encourage brushing for an effective length of time. Find out more at www.brushdj.com


Which snacks/drinks are healthy for my child’s teeth?

It’s very difficult to know which snacks and drinks are the right ones to give to children. Supermarket shelves are full of products, telling us they are “sugar free”, “low calorie”, “diet” and “Low in sugar” it’s no wonder parents are confused!

In order to determine which foods and drinks are harmful to teeth we need to understand the decay process.


Everyone has plaque on their teeth. Plaque is the bacteria which grows on teeth and gums constantly throughout the day. Twenty minutes after brushing, the plaque starts to grow again.

If you have plaque on your teeth and you introduce sugar into the mouth either in a drink or something you eat like a biscuit, the plaque converts the sugar into an acid. It might only take you ten seconds to eat the biscuit, but the acid can remain in your mouth for up to one hour afterwards.

This is the time when the acid starts to eat away at the enamel on your teeth. If you have something with sugar in every 1-2 hours you will literally be bathing your teeth in acid all day, which will lead to tooth decay. The solution is to leave enough time in between acid attacks for your mouth to recover to it’s normal ph level.

The best time to have sugary snacks and drinks is at meal times as we get lots of saliva in our mouths to aid the digestion process, the saliva helps to wash away acid.

Check the label!

So what is a healthy snack for teeth? Look at labels. Obviously sugar is harmful to teeth, but quite often it is itemised on ingredients lists as dextrose, lactose, sucrose and fructose. If it ends in “ose” it’s sugar!

Some products claim to be sugar free or low calorie. Don’t be fooled into thinking these are safe for teeth. Sugar is added to many products for two reasons: as a preservative and to make it taste sweet. If manufacturers remove the sugar they will need to add something to enable the product to have a suitable shelf life, this being citric acid. Unfortunately, citric acid damages the tooth enamel causing dental erosion.

The second item they need to add is artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and isomalt which can cause a reaction for some children. Even drinks labelled as no added sugar can still contain up to 10% sugar.

Generally speaking the only drinks safe for teeth which can be consumed at any time during the day are plain milk and plain water. Flavoured milks and waters usually contain sugar and acid and should only be consumed at meal times. Drinking them through a straw will also help as it allows the drink to bypass most of the teeth. Although fresh fruit juice counts as one of your five-a-day items, it is extremely acidic so this too must only be taken at meal times.

Safe snacks

The best snack items to keep to hand are fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, savoury crackers and wholegrain bread sticks. Beware of dried fruits such as raisins and sultanas. The natural sugars in them are very concentrated due to the dehydrating process. Also they are very retentive and have a tendency to stick to teeth.

Chop carrot, cucumber and celery sticks and keep them in sealed containers. Also mandarin orange slices, grapes and cheese cubes are good, fun-sized snacks to keep children happy and stop them craving things they shouldn’t have.

If you would like more information regarding healthy snacks and drinks, ask to see the Dental Health Educator at your Dental Practice, who will have lots of tips and advice to help you and your child make healthier choices.


When can my child have a brace to straighten their teeth?

This question is most frequently asked when a child reaches the ages of 8-10 years. Quite often children of this age have numerous teeth in the mouth (baby and permanent) at different angles to each other all fighting for space. What you have to bear in mind is your child will have quite a few adult sized teeth trying to fit in a child sized mouth, it’s no wonder things look a bit odd!


Many children are concerned about the appearance of their teeth, especially if they have been teased at school and want to have a brace to sort it out.

Unfortunately, if we were to provide your child with a brace at this stage it would be pretty pointless as when the remaining permanent teeth arrive they would push them all out of position again. The usual age to commence orthodontic treatment (braces) is around 12-13 years when all of the baby teeth have been lost and the permanent teeth are in place.

If your child requires orthodontic treatment it is vitally important their oral hygiene is excellent. Orthodontists rarely provide treatment if a child is unable to maintain a clean mouth as there are many stagnation areas on braces where plaque can form which can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Talk to your Dentist if you or your child is concerned about the appearance of their teeth and they will be able to inform you of the options available to you.


Common Concerns


Sucking their thumb is a self-soothing behaviour many infants adopt and keep into childhood. While it’s not a problem in infancy, it can cause dental problems if it continues. Ask your dentist for ideas about how wean them from this habit before problems crop up.

Bad bottle habits

Drinking milk or water from a bottle at mealtimes is perfectly fine in infancy, however prolonged sucking on a bottle can cause acid to build up and attack your child’s teeth. Follow these guidelines to avoid tooth decay:

  • Don’t put sugar in or on your baby’s bottle (only milk or water should go in the bottle and between meals it should only be water)

  • Don’t put your baby to sleep with a bottle of milk. If they need a bottle to help them drop off, make it water and remove it as soon as possible.

  • Teach your child to drink from a cup as early as possible.

Shark teeth

This happens when your child’s permanent teeth come in behind their baby teeth, causing them to have two rows of teeth like a shark. Don’t worry - this is quite common as it happens to 1 in 10 children. The root of the baby tooth normally dissolved to allow it to fall out and be replaced by the adult tooth. Sometimes this can take longer, or the permanent tooth is just impatient. Eventually the baby tooth will fall out and the new tooth should move into position, however if you’re concerned, come in to see the dentist.

Losing teeth too soon

If your child’s baby tooth falls out, either by trauma or due to decay, before the permanent tooth is ready to replace it, they may be left with a temporary gap. Consult your dentist as he or she might recommend a ‘space saver’ to hold the place open for the new tooth and prevent crowding.

Parent Downloads

Information for Parents/Carers

Healthy teeth and gums for children leaflet for Parents/Carers which includes helpful information about oral health and hygiene as well as primary (baby) teeth development. (Print in colour or black & White) Download →

Tooth Brushing Chart

It is recommended that children brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. Use this chart to make toothbrushing time fun for your child.
Download →

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