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  • Is fruit juice okay for my baby’s teeth?
    The safest drinks for your baby’s teeth are water and milk. Watch out for ‘low sugar’, ‘natural sugar’, ‘no added sugar’ drinks as these still contain sugar which can cause tooth decay. Tooth decay is also known as caries and can look like holes or black marks on the teeth. Although fresh fruit juice contains vitamins, it also has a lot more sugar which can also cause tooth decay.
  • How do I find out how much sugar is in my baby’s food and drinks?
    To check the sugar and salt content of your baby’s food and drink, look on the back of the packet or you can use the NHS Food Scanner app to scan the barcode.
  • Is fruit safe for my baby's teeth?
    Once your baby has turned 6 months old, you might start to introduce new foods in to their diet, including fruit. Fruit contains vitamins and is a great source of nutrition for your baby, however it also contains natural sugars. Whole, fresh fruit If fruit is eaten fresh and whole, e.g. chopped pieces of orange, grapes, pear this is generally okay for your baby's teeth. Pureed, smoothies, fruit juices Once fruit has been broken down, or squeezed to make fruit juice, the 'natural sugars' are released and are called 'free sugars'. These 'free sugars' can be harmful to teeth and can cause tooth decay if consumed frequently. Dried fruit When you eat dried fruit, you will notice it tastes much sweeter than fresh fruit, it is also very sticky. Dried fruit contains more sugar that fresh fruit and because it is so sticky, it sticks to the grooves of the teeth which can be harmful to teeth and can cause tooth decay if consumed frequently. Tooth safe snacks and drinks The best snacks for your baby's teeth are non-sugary and low salt options. See our video on eating and drinking for some ideas. The safest drinks for teeth are plain water and milk and it is best to stick to these for as long as possible. If you want to give some fruit juice as an occasional treat, it is best to dilute it with water and only have it with a meal. For the 1 hour before bedtime, try to avoid sugary foods and drinks all together.
  • What should I do if my child is in pain with toothache?
    If your child is suffering from toothache, contact your usual dentist as they may have emergency appointments available. You can also contact NHS 111 who will put you in touch with an emergency dental service. GP’s are unable to offer emergency dental care. Only visit A&E in serious circumstances such as severe pain, heavy bleeding or injuries to the face, mouth, or teeth. If you’re not sure, contact NHS 111 who can advise you.
  • What does tooth decay look like?
    Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, can look like small holes or black marks on the teeth. To check for tooth decay, and to keep your baby's teeth healthy and strong, you should take your baby to see a dentist as soon as their first tooth appears or before their first birthday.
  • What can I do to help my teething baby?
    The NHS has some useful teething guidance that can be read below, or click here. Baby Teething Symptoms When it comes to teething, all babies are different. But your baby will probably get their first tooth some time during their first year. When do babies start teething? Some babies are born with their first teeth. Others start teething before they are 4 months old, and some after 12 months. But most babies start teething at around 6 months. Teething symptoms Baby teeth sometimes emerge with no pain or discomfort at all. At other times, you may notice: their gum is sore and red where the tooth is coming through they have a mild temperature of less than 38C they have 1 flushed cheek they have a rash on their face they're rubbing their ear they're dribbling more than usual they're gnawing and chewing on things a lot they're more fretful than usual they're not sleeping very well Read tips on how to help your teething baby. Some people think that teething causes other symptoms, such as diarrhoea, but there's no evidence to support this. You know your baby best. Get medical advice if they have any symptoms that are causing you concern. You can call NHS 111 or contact a GP. Tips for helping your baby Teething can be distressing for some babies, but there are ways to make it easier for them. Every baby is different, and you may have to try a few different things until you find something that works for your baby. Teething rings Teething rings give your baby something to chew safely. This may ease their discomfort and distract them from any pain. Some teething rings can be cooled first in the fridge, which may help to soothe your baby's gums. The instructions that come with the ring should tell you how long to chill it for. Never put a teething ring in the freezer, as it could damage your baby's gums if it gets frozen. Never tie a teething ring around your baby's neck, as it may be a choking hazard. If your baby is chewing One of the signs that your baby is teething is that they start to chew on their fingers, toys or other objects they get hold of. If your baby is 6 months or older, you can give them healthy things to chew on, such as raw fruit and vegetables. Soft fruit like melon can soothe gums. You could also try giving your baby a crust of bread or a breadstick. Always watch when your baby is eating in case they choke. It's best to avoid rusks because nearly all brands contain some sugar. Avoid any foods that contain lots of sugar, as this can cause tooth decay, even if your child only has a few teeth. Teething gels There's a lack of evidence that teething gels are effective. It's recommended that parents try non-medical options for teething first, such as a teething ring. If you do decide to use a gel, make sure you use a teething gel that's specially designed for young children. General oral pain relief gels are not suitable for children. Teething gels contain a mild local anaesthetic and are only available from pharmacies. Speak to a pharmacist for further advice. There's no evidence that homeopathic teething gels are effective. If you use a homeopathic gel, make sure it's licensed for use in the UK. Paracetamol and ibuprofen for teething If your baby is in pain, you may want to give them a sugar-free painkilling medicine. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be given to relieve teething symptoms in babies and young children aged 3 months or older. Children under 16 years old should not have aspirin. Always follow the instructions that come with the medicine. If you're not sure, speak to your GP or pharmacist. Comforting a teething baby Comforting or playing with your baby can distract them from any pain in their gums. Gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger may also help. Preventing teething rashes If teething is making your baby dribble more than usual, gently wiping their face may help prevent a rash.
  • Can my baby use adult toothpaste?
    You should use a fluoride toothpaste containing at least 1000 ppm fluoride (check the tube). A family toothpaste containing 1350ppm and 1500ppm is also okay. Only use a smear of toothpaste and treat toothpaste like any other medicine by keeping it out of reach of children. Babies should not lick or eat toothpaste even though they may want to.
  • My baby sometimes stays with family or friends, should they brush my baby's teeth too?
    If you can, discuss brushing your baby’s teeth with the other person (see our video on ‘How Family and Friends can Help’ for some help). If you are concerned, make sure that you brush your baby’s teeth really well before they go to stay, and as soon as they return, even if this means an extra brush in the middle of the day. For further support, speak to your health visitor.
  • How can I distract my baby whilst trying to brush their teeth?
    We know brushing your baby’s teeth can be hard and there will be good days and bad days, that’s all part of growing up. Here are some tips that might help with toothbrushing: - Give your baby their own toothbrush to hold and play with whilst you brush your baby’s teeth. - Try singing songs, clapping and pulling funny faces - Find a comfortable place in your home, it might be that brushing whilst watching television is a good distraction Remember, some toothbrushing is better than none, don’t give up.
  • When should I start brushing my baby's teeth?
    To get your baby used to the idea of brushing, let them see you brushing your teeth before their own teeth have come through. You should start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears. You could even brush the gums before the first tooth comes through so your baby gets used to having a toothbrush in their mouth.
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