As well as visiting the dentist regularly, the whole family should have a tooth care routine at home. Information on finding an NHS dentist in Portsmouth and how to take care of your teeth at home can be found below.
Taking care of your teeth at home
From the moment that teeth appear it is important they are brushed regularly. Getting children into a good tooth care routine will help them continue to have a healthy smile when they are older.
Caring for your baby’s teeth
The first teeth, sometimes known as milk teeth, begin to emerge through the gums at around six months old. Most children have a full set of first teeth by around two and a half years old. Your baby’s teeth can be affected by tooth decay straight away so start brushing them as soon as they appear.
- clean your baby’s teeth twice a day
- use a small smear of children’s toothpaste - a list of toothpastes with the right amount of protective mineral fluoride can be found at the bottom of the page
- use a children’s toothbrush – they have soft bristles and a small head
- sit your baby on your knee with their head resting against your chest - brush his or her teeth in small circles covering all the surfaces of the teeth
Caring for your child's teeth
You will need to help make sure your child brushes their teeth correctly until they are at least seven years old.
- children should brush their teeth twice a day
- use a pea sized amount of children’s toothpaste with the right amount of protective mineral fluoride. After 7 years old an adult tooth paste can be used
- use a child’s tooth brush
- encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste
- do not rinse with water after brushing
Caring for your adult teeth
We have most of our permanent teeth by the time we are 13 years old. It is important that we continue to protect them with good tooth care.
- brush twice a day
- use a mouth guard during sports
- do not smoke or chew tobacco
Everyone should visit a dentist regularly - you no longer have to register with a dental clinic which means you can choose any NHS dentist.
There is a choice of NHS dental practices in Portsmouth. Follow the link to find out where new NHS patients are being accepted, and the price bands for treatment:
Taking your child to the dentist
NHS dental treatment for children is free. If you take your baby to the dentist when their first teeth start to appear, your dentist will be able to check that their teeth are developing correctly. They can give you advice on how to care for your baby’s teeth and on teething problems - when the teeth begin to grow through the gums.
It is a good idea to take your child with you to the dental surgery as this will help them become familiar and comfortable with the surroundings.
Who should see an NHS Dentist?
Everyone! You can take a baby into an NHS dentist from birth, even before they have any teeth. Even if you no longer have your own teeth, your dentist will still check the health of your mouth. Your NHS dentist will advise you how often you should have a dental check up. This is usually at least once a year.
Free NHS dental treatment
Many patients qualify for free NHS dental treatment.
If you are not eligible for free treatment,you may still be surprised at how affordable NHS dental prices are. An up-to-date list of the three dental price bands and the treatments included in each band is available at Portsmouth Dental helpline website link above.
NHS Dental treatment is free if you:
- are a child under the age of 18
- are under 19 and still in full time education
- are pregnant or a mother with a child under one year
- are an NHS inpatient and treatment is carried out by a hospital dentist
- receive income based job seekers allowance
- receive income support
- receive income related employment and support allowance
- receive pension credit guarantee credit
- are named on, or entitled to, an NHS working tax credit exception certificate
- are named on a valid HC2 certificate. You may receive partial help towards dental costs if you are named on a valid HC3 certificate
Your dental practice will need to sign a form confirming you are exempt. You will need to show proof in writing of your entitlement. If you are claim free treatment that you aren't entitled to, you may incur a penalty charge, as checks are made on all claims for free treatment.