How to encourage children to clean their teeth

Regular teeth brushing helps remove the plaque and bacteria causing gum disease and decay. So it is important to get children into twice-daily cleaning as part of their regular routine – that way, they get into good habits early on. 

Otherwise, a youngster may experience tooth decay, pain or discomfort, problems with speaking or eating, or issues with the development of their permanent teeth.

A government survey among three-year-olds showed that, in 2020, 11% had visible dental decay, affecting on average three teeth. Equally, nearly half (46%) of the UK’s children have already had a filling or a cavity thanks to tooth decay, while nearly three quarters (70%) of parents admit that getting their kids to brush regularly is stressful. 

According to the NHS, children should be brushing their own teeth twice daily for two minutes a time from the age of around seven, with adult supervision to ensure it’s done properly and for long enough. 

You can get a child to use a mirror, for example, and guide their hand while they’re brushing. 

But if you have a reluctant young brusher in your household you’re not alone. There can be several reasons for it – from sensory issues to children’s natural urge not to do as they’re told. Sometimes, doing anything else seems more fun! However, if your kid complains that brushing hurts (and they’re not inventing this), a dentist’s appointment will rule out cavities or anything else which could be behind the discomfort. 

So what can you do if your child does everything possible to wriggle out of teeth-cleaning sessions, dragging out the morning and bedtime routines? Here are our top tips: 

  1. Brush teeth to music

It’s not in the rules that you must clean your teeth in silence! Play a favourite song to make the task seem less of a chore. Upbeat numbers work well – plus there’s the added benefit of ensuring kids spend the correct length of time on their teeth, since most songs will outlasted the recommended two minutes’ brushing time. Throw in a few silly faces or dance around. 

  1. Make it rewarding

Sometimes, a little incentive can make all the difference. That could take the form of a sticker chart, which the child fills with gold stars each time they have squeaky-clean pearly whites. Or think of a (sugar-free) treat as a prize after successful twice-daily brushing for a month. Put a note on the bathroom mirror saying the all-seeing Tooth Fairy cannot make payments where teeth aren’t properly cleaned. 

  1. Let them make choices 

If children pick their own toothpaste and toothbrush, they’ll enjoy this responsibility – they’re also more likely to use something they’ve chosen themselves. There are plenty of child-friendly toothpaste flavours around, and brushes featuring popular cartoon or other characters.  

Clearly, equipment needs to be age-appropriate, since little ones don’t have grown-ups’ dexterity. 

  1. Brush with them 

If nothing else works, try cleaning your teeth together. This shows you take the job seriously; equally, kids enjoy copying grown-ups’ actions. You may even find it a bonding experience. 

  1. Get creative with game ideas

Kids usually adore playing games. So invent stories (toothbrush as a superhero slaying plaque monsters, for example), or get creative with other ideas. Use an egg timer or one on your phone. Oral-B has an app with a timer featuring a favourite Disney character voicing encouragement. 

You could even convert the bathroom into a dentist’s surgery, making the kids stay outside in the ‘waiting room’ until they’re called in. You then become ‘the dentist’, inspecting their brushing. 

Talk to us

Bounty Road Dental looks after oral health for the whole family – we’re conveniently located in  Basingstoke town centre. We believe in great dental care and habits from a young age. Bring the kids in for regular children’s dental check-ups – and talk to us if you have a reluctant brusher on your hands.

When should you consider dental implants?

If you’re not sure exactly what one is, a dental implant is a titanium screw which goes directly into the jawbone, where it replaces a missing tooth root. Once it’s fitted, the surrounding bone will slowly fuse to the implant so that it remains firmly in place. It prepares the area for a replacement tooth.

A crown (false tooth) matching your existing teeth’s colour and shape can then be placed on top of the implant as a permanent solution, boosting your confidence by giving you a natural-looking smile.

What are the benefits of dental implants

There are many of these; implants are as strong as your natural teeth, work like them and also help protect against bone loss. What’s more, they won’t damage the surrounding teeth, and this is an extremely safe and long-lasting procedure, with a very high rate of success. Once fitted, you can treat the tooth as any other with regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups.

Finally, it’s a solution which offers long-term value – plus this treatment is more affordable than you may have realised. So implants offer a great alternative to bridges and dentures.

So when is it time to think about dental implants?

  • You have a missing tooth

An implant is a natural way of filling where the gap used to be, and it won’t look out of place. You may think that you don’t need an implant if a missing tooth isn’t bothering you. But when you remove a tooth, the surrounding ones face added stress and pressure and may be vulnerable to infection, cracking and cavities. If you chew on one side of your mouth to compensate, part of your jaw is neglected, so bone and connective tissue can weaken.

  • You have a loose dental bridge or denture(s)

Dental implants can be the ideal solution if you have a loose dental bridge. Additionally, they can save the day if you have loose dentures, either full or partial ones.

  • You face has a sunken appearance

Dentures do not replicate the jawbone, so the bone can regress, especially over time. Implants, however, retain the facial structure.

  • A tooth has become infected and will need to be removed

If a tooth has become too infected to saved, you’ll need to have it extracted, or taken out completely. A strong, durable implant can effectively serve as your new tooth.

  • You’ve had enough of denture

You have to take dentures out to clean them; equally, sometimes you’ll need denture adhesives to keep them in place. If you don’t want to deal with this, you’re certainly not alone. And implants can provide a really convenient alternative. No different dental care regime is needed – just look after for your implants as you would your regular teeth.

The only thing you may have to do differently is where a guard if you grind your teeth at night, since this can damage the crown.

Dental implants from us at Bounty Road Dental

At Bounty Road Dental Practice, we’re the leading dental implants provider in North Hampshire. Let us quite literally put the smile back on your face! Talk to us today about dental implants at our modern, friendly practice in Basingstoke.

Do I need to see a dentist?

How often do I need to visit the dentist?

The answer to this isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. Clearly, the received-wisdom answer is every six months or twice a year. But the reality is that some patients will need to attend more frequently, while others may not need so many check-ups. A good dentist will advise you further on next appointment time, based on the current state of your oral health. In recent years, the UK’s Chief Dental Officer has suggested that patient and dentist could agree a suitable ‘recall interval’. However, previous proposals to extend the recommended interval for low-risk patients were not enacted.

Dental Hygienist in Basingstoke

Some believe the six-monthly rule dates back to the 1700s, and stress that the evidence on the need for twice-yearly check-ups is either mixed or unclear. However, we’d argue that this regularity of check-ups remains a good rule of thumb, even if you’re not experiencing particular problems. And, of course, if you do have persistent issues with your teeth, more frequent appointments will be necessary.

Some believe the six-monthly rule dates back to the 1700s, and stress that the evidence on the need for twice-yearly check-ups is either mixed or unclear. However, we’d argue that this regularity of check-ups remains a good rule of thumb, even if you’re not experiencing particular problems. And, of course, if you do have persistent issues with your teeth, more frequent appointments will be necessary.

Below we look at some common niggles and assess whether they warrant a visit to your dentist.

  • Bleeding after brushing or flossing

Blood in the basin can be a worrying sight. And a dentist will need to look in your mouth to know whether there is a problem. However, you can generally sort out bleeding gums at home using a few basic techniques. The most common cause behind this issue is gum disease. And one figure (from Birmingham University’s School of Dentistry) has it that 90% of the nation’s adults have this problem in some form.

Especially in its milder forms, bleeding gums can be treated at home with flossing and correct brushing techniques. You certainly don’t need an emergency slot with your dentist. Make a non-urgent appointment if you notice persistent bleeding, or discuss at your next check-up. You will need to seek dental attention more urgently if you also have painfully swollen gums, or bleeding when you eat hard foods.

  • Receding gums

Noticed your teeth looking slightly longer or that your gums appear to be pulling back from your teeth? You probably have receding gums, which can have a number of different causes, most seriously gum or periodontal disease. (Other causes can include old age, poor oral hygiene and overly vigorous brushing.)  It means gum tissue has worn away, and the gums can look inflamed. This is something which happens gradually, so it’s worth checking that you have healthy gums daily. (You may also notice bad breath, loose teeth, gum tenderness, or even loose teeth.) It means bacteria are more likely to grow around the affected area.

While this is not a reversible problem, it can be prevented from worsening. You may need occasional scaling and root planning treatments, or a gum graft for a more natural look.

Gum recession is a common, ongoing issue and  not typically an emergency. Discuss with your dentist as part of your long-term oral care.

  • Dry mouth

While a dry mouth, caused by insufficient saliva, is not uncommon if you are feeling nervous or dehydrated, it can indicate an underlying problem. An unusually dry mouth or xerostomia is worth discussing with your dentist. Underlying issues which can cause this issue include some medications (such as antihistamines and anti-depressants), conditions such as diabetes, as well as radiotherapy.

You can try a number of things  yourself, including taking more cold water or unsweetened drinks, sucking on sugar-free sweets or chewing gum to stimulate saliva production and avoiding alcohol.

Your dentist may suggest an artificial saliva substitute in gel, lozenge or spray form, while in some cases medication may be prescribed.

  • Loose or shifting teeth

In adults, a loose or shifting tooth can be caused by an accident, a blow to the face or biting down too hard or quickly on something that’s very solid. Gum disease and infections are further potential culprits.

Don’t fiddle with the tooth if it happens to you – leave it well alone. Eat soft foods, and, if a tooth has been knocked out completely, try and keep it moist. Above all, keep the area clean and swill with an antibacterial mouthwash. Various treatment options are available, not all of which require extensive restoration work – make a dental appointment and visit your dentist promptly.  

  • Broken or chipped tooth

If you have chipped, cracked or broken a tooth, this is usually not overly serious, so don’t worry unduly. Your dentist will be able to deal with the problem as a non-urgent matter, although you should book an appointment if your next check-up is some time away.

One thing you can do, improbable though it may sound, is to put the tooth in milk or saliva in a container, and take it to your dentist, who may be able to glue it back on.

  • Bumps & sores

An oral sore or bump can have various sources, so don’t assume the worst immediately. You may just have a burn on the roof of your mouth, or a canker or cold sore, all of which should heal within a few days. However, if a sore hasn’t healed in two weeks, see your dentist. If they think it could be cancerous, swift action is clearly vital – but in most cases it won’t be anything to worry about.

Other potential causes include oral mucous cysts, teeth-inflicted injuries, extra bone growth or squamous papilloma (painless cauliflower-like bumps). As ever, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so make that appointment.

  • Ongoing toothache

There are some circumstances in which a persistent toothache does require a dental appointment. For example, you should take action if the pain lasts longer than a couple of days, and doesn’t subside even when you take painkillers. Other red flags include toothache accompanied by a high temperature, pain on biting, overly red gums or a lingering bad taste. Another indication that you need a dentist is a swollen cheek or jaw.

Remember, your GP won’t be able to help with toothache as they don’t provide dental treatment.

  • Persistent bad breath

Sometimes called halitosis, bad breath may be embarrassing, but it’s also very common. More often than not, you can tackle it yourself, and the best way of doing that is to keep your tongue, mouth and teeth consistently clean.

This issue has a number of causes, including smoking, some medical conditions, dental problems such as gum disease, strong-smelling or spicy food and even some things you may not have thought of, like crash dieting.

Things to avoid include smoking, sugar, brushing teeth too hard and rinsing with water immediately afterwards. And you can try all the usual things to keep your breath smelling fresh, from mouthwashes to flossing, and cleaning your tongue as well as your teeth. If you wear dentures, clean them too, and take them out at night.

If you find bad beath lingers more than a few weeks, and is accompanied by painful, bleeding or swollen gums, toothache or denture problems, visit your dentist.

  • An abscessed tooth or extreme swelling

A dental abscess is when pus collects inside a tooth, in the gums or in the bone holding the teeth in place. The cause is typically a bacterial infection. Contrary to what you may think, they are not always painful. But they always need prompt dental attention. They won’t heal by themselves, and could spread to other areas of the body and make you ill. Symptoms include an intense throbbing pain in the affected area. It’s often worse of you lie down, and could disturb your sleep. The pain may also spread to other facial areas on the same side. You may have bad breath or an unpleasant taste in  your mouth, or be especially  sensitive to hot or cold food or drink.

A swelling inside your mouth may also indicate a dental abscess, or may be a sign of infection, especially if the area looks red or feels warm.

Again, see a dentist as soon as possible. If swelling is making it hard to open your mouth, is near an eye or making it hard to swallow or breathe.

Tips to keep your mouth healthy

And, finally … follow these tips for tip-top oral health and keeping your mouth healthy. These tips may seem obvious, but they work!

  1. Twice-daily (at least) brushing, ideally with an electric toothbrush and always for two minutes. Discuss brushing and flossing techniques with your dentist.
  2. Clean your tongue – you can buy specialist tongue cleaners, but you can also scrape away bacteria with an upside-down spoon.
  3. Improve your lifestyle with a healthy diet, stopping smoking and binning sugary foods and fizzy drinks.

Root Canal Treatment: Your Questions Answered

Root canal treatment, or endontics, is essentially a dental procedure which treats an infection at the centre of a tooth, i.e. the root canal. You may need it because of a leaky filling, in the wake of an event such as a fall, or because of tooth decay, a broken crown, loose fillings or if a tooth has cracked for any other reason. It can save a tooth that may otherwise have to be extracted, and prevent an abscess from forming.

This procedure is needed once bacteria living in the mouth have invaded the tooth, after food debris from beneath the gum has begun to eat away at its soft layers – allowing infection to spread quickly. Once it has reached an area inside called the pulp (a combination of nerves and vessels providing the teeth’s blood supply), your dentist will need to remove the nerve.

Here, we try and answer some of the questions patients most often ask us about this procedure:

  • What are the signs and symptoms of needing root canal treatment?

There are a number of these, including facial swelling; or having an abscess which drains into your mouth, leaving a strange taste.

Other symptoms include heightened sensitivity to hot and cold, and a throbbing sensation when you lie down or get up. Sometimes, the infected tooth may look darker than your other teeth, a sign that the nerve is dead or dying.

Finally, your dentist may see a white lump on your gum when they examine you, and this is another clear indicator that you may need root canal treatment.

  • What does the treatment actually involve?

Typically, you will need at least two appointments. On  the first, any infection is removed, along with the pulp.  A hole is drilled in the top of the affected tooth and a sedative dressing is inserted to settle the tooth.

The hole is thoroughly cleaned, irrigated and disinfected. You will also usually be given a temporary filling.

On your second appointment, the space is permanently filled to keep bugs and further food debris at bay.

  • Will I need further work on this tooth after the root canal treatment?

Yes; you will need to have a crown fitted, especially if the treatment is on one of your back teeth. The blood supply has been removed, along with the infection, leaving the tooth brittle and fragile. It could snap or break on chewing. Even something simple or soft like bread could cause breakage, which could ultimately cost you the tooth.

Replacement options are available. But, along with many dentists, at Bounty Road Dental we advise a crown after root canal treatment, to protect the tooth against the pressures of eating or grinding after the tooth structure has been weakened.

  • How long does root canal treatment take?

As mentioned, you will typically need a couple of appointments to complete the process, potentially more, and usually you will have around a week in between each one, so your dentist can keep an eye on the healing process. Newer techniques and equipment have made treatment more efficient. Most appointments should last between 30 and 60 minutes, and certainly no more than 90   maximum. But let your dentist know if you find it hard to lie or sit for extended periods.

  • How painful is this treatment?

Contrary to what you may have feared, the root canal process isn’t painful at all. The worst-case scenario is likely to be some mild discomfort from having your mouth open for longer than you normally would.

You won’t feel anything after the local anaesthetic has been delivered by injection. There should be no more discomfort than with a regular filling.

However, it’s understandable if you feel nervous beforehand – a good dentist will put you at your ease.

  • How much does root canal treatment cost?

At Bounty Road Dental, we charge from £350 for the root canal process, covering everything from start to finish. Remember, our monthly membership plan offers you a discount on treatment, allowing you to spread the cost.

  • How long does healing take after root canal treatment?

Look after your teeth well post-treatment, chewing carefully and avoiding hard food. You should feel no pain, although your mouth may feel sensitive for a few days. Consider taking over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol if necessary.

Go back to your dentist if swelling or discomfort persist post-treatment, and they may well want to see you anyway for a final check-up, a week or two after the last appointment, to check everything is as it should be.

To keep your mouth at its best, return for regular hygienist appointments and check-ups.

Root canal treatment at Bounty Road Dental

We offer affordably priced root canal treatment to an extremely high standard using the latest equipment. Talk to us today, whether you know you already need this therapy, or want to be assessed for it. We’ll be glad to chat everything through with you ahead of your first appointment.

What does a dental hygienist do?

It’s one of those professions that everyone thinks they understand – but could you put your finger on what it is exactly that a dental hygienist does? You probably have an idea that it involves keeping the mouth and gums clean, but do you understand anything more beyond that?

Dental Hygienist in Basingstoke

At Bounty Road Dental in Basingstoke, Hampshire, patients often ask us what they can expect from their visits to the hygienist,  and how an appointment would benefit them. So we thought we’d offer an overview here.

The role of the hygienist

Essentially, dental hygienists are trained professionals who are gum and bone specialists. They work mainly on individual teeth and gums so that your mouth stays as healthy as possible and you keep problems like bad breath and gum disease at bay. (According to the NHS, gum disease affects nearly half of those aged 35 or over.) Combine these visits, of course, with your regular dental check-up appointments for the best possible oral health. After all, most dental disease is entirely preventable; but it’s even more so with the help of a hygienist.

How will I benefit?

Good oral hygiene will certainly prove invaluable in the battle against gum disease and tooth decay, which can ultimately lead to teeth having to be extracted. So seeing a hygienist is a smart preventative move.

Frequent appointments will remove hard-to-reach tartar and plaque from your teeth. This gets rid of the rough surfaces which can worsen bacterial build-up, making your teeth and gums generally healthier.

You will also have brighter teeth, since regular scaling and polishing can banish surface staining, giving you fresher-looking pearly whites. You will be rid of the marks that can accumulate from certain foods and drinks, from curries and red wine to green tea and coffee. Even mouthwash, you may not have realised, can sometimes make its mark – and not in a good way.

Your hygienist will also give you expert advice on how to look after your gums and teeth at home, and can discuss the diets that are best for oral health. (You may think you understand this pretty well already, but you’d be surprised what you can learn about flossing, brushing techniques and using interdental brushes.)

Finally, there are always new advances in dental treatment, so seeing a hygienist can help you stay abreast of the latest advice.

What are periodontal pockets?

Hygienists will also inspect your mouth for areas called ‘pockets’, or spaces between the gums and teeth (below the gum line) where tissue has started to pull away from the enamel. These can gather debris and food in between teeth cleanings as well as allowing bacteria to breed. Periodontal pockets aren’t quite reachable with the bristles of a toothbrush, so food can become trapped just below the gums.

Periodontal pockets are key indicators of gum disease, and are often hereditary, so you may need to see a hygienist more frequently if you have them.

What else will happen at my appointment?

To sum up, following the initial hygiene examination, you can expect:

  • For your teeth to be scaled to eliminate any tartar or plaque build-up, using professional equipment and pastes you wouldn’t otherwise have access to
  • A clean and polish to shift any superficial staining of your gnashers
  • Tailored advice on maintaining optimal oral health and demonstrations of techniques you can use yourself at home
  • Advice on diet and how it can help prevent tooth decay
  • Help with detecting early-warning signs of potential oral cancer
  • Your hygienist will be able to refer you to a dentist or periodontist if they feel anything they’ve seen may warrant further treatment and the issue lies outside their scope of practice
  • Where necessary, a hygienist may also apply sealants to teeth or fluoride gels and pastes

How often do I need to see the hygienist?

 Most people will benefit from seeing this professional for a clean-up once a year. However, your clinical needs and your own personal preferences will also be a part of the decision of how often to attend.

Equally, your dentist may advise that you see a hygienist for a thorough clean before starting any programme of complex work, for example if you’re  having dental implants, dentures, dental bridges or orthodontic treatment.

See a hygienist in Basingstoke at Bounty Road Dental

We at Bounty Road Dental recommend that all our patients come for regular hygienist appointments. Our hygienist Kelly Couldridge has a number of years’ experience as a hygienist and dental therapist and loves enthusing our patients to take the best care of their oral health while staying on top of all the latest developments in the profession.

Talk to us and book your hygienist appointment today.