Tag: children



Just looking at our kids or seeing an old photo of when we were young is evidence enough that parents pass down many traits to their children. Children’s genetic makeup is a combination of both their biological mother and father. Traits such as eye colour and hair colour can be passed down from parents to children, so does that mean that ‘bad teeth’ can be hereditary as well?

This question depends mainly on your definition of ‘bad teeth’.  Most true genetic conditions of the mouth are rare.

Some of the more common conditions include:

Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

Clefting, the incomplete fusion of the lip and/or palate, can appear alone or as part of a hereditary syndrome. Family history of clefting increases the chances of inheriting the disorder.

Amelogenesis imperfecta

An inherited disorder, resulting in the defective formation of tooth enamel, the hard outer surface of the tooth. The disease affects both baby and adult teeth and because of thin and soft enamel teeth are yellow and easily damaged.

Dentinogenesis imperfecta

An inherited disorder, resulting in defective formation of tooth dentine. In this condition, teeth are discolored (blue-gray or yellow–brown) and transparent. Both baby and adult teeth are damaged. They are weaker, easy to damage and prone to falling out.


Anodontia, also called congenitally missing teeth, is a hereditary condition in which one or more adult teeth do not develop, though baby teeth usually erupt. Anodontia may involve the absence of all (total anodontia) or only some (hypodontia) teeth.   Cases of hypodontia/oligodontia may or may not be associated with various syndromes such as hypohydrotic ectodermal dysplasia, cleft of the lip or palate etc.

All of these conditions can be identified early in life and require varying degrees of treatment.

If by ‘bad teeth’ you are referring to tooth decay or gum disease there is some evidence that shows certain individuals have a greater genetic susceptibility to contracting these diseases.

However, recent research has shown that overwhelmingly it is the child’s environment and not genetics that plays the most important role in whether or not the child will experience these diseases.  If your child has a low sugar diet, has excellent oral hygiene and is constantly well hydrated (to optimize saliva) they will be at very low risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease during their life.  Of course, having regular dental checks is also paramount so that potential problems can be prevented or treated early.

How to keep your kids teeth healthy:

  1. Limit their intake of sugary food and drink.
  2. Help them with their brushing and make sure they brush for two minutes morning and night.
  3. Make sure they drink plenty of plain water.
  4. Bring them to see their dentist every six months.




Starting your child with regular dental visits early will give them the best chance of having good teeth for life. While baby teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth, baby teeth have many important roles for growth and development. It is therefore just as necessary to keep these baby teeth healthy until they naturally become loose and fall out.

Your child may have their baby teeth from 6 months of age up until around 12 years of age, so there are many years in between to care for their teeth and set up good dental care habits!

Firstly, baby teeth allow for normal speech, eating, chewing, and smiling. The baby teeth also maintain the space for the replacement adult teeth and help guide normal jaw growth. If baby teeth are lost early due to decay, the other teeth can move into the space and may lead to a problem with the adult teeth becoming crooked and crowding – which might mean braces or more treatment in the future.

What if baby teeth develop decay?

If a baby tooth develops a large area of decay, due to their small size and relatively large nerves, the decay can very quickly. Decay can involve the nerve in the tooth, leading to pain and likely leading to needing the tooth taken out early. This is never a nice experience for you, your child, or your dentist! In extreme cases, decay can lead to a large spreading infection. This may require a hospital stay, general anaesthetic, and can even be life-threatening.

Additionally, the higher levels of bacteria in your child’s mouth if they have active dental decay in baby teeth will be present in their mouth and can then affect the growing adult tooth. This puts the adult teeth at higher risk of developing cavities as well. If an infected baby tooth has had a large infection from dental decay, this can damage the developing adult tooth.

In some special circumstances, a child might not grow a replacement adult tooth at all, and then it is most important to care for the baby tooth!

How can decay on baby teeth be prevented?

Finally, starting prevention early will be your child’s best defence against decay. Put them at ease about (or even look forward to!) dental visits. Regular early dental visits where we count and clean your child’s teeth and teeth them about cleaning and caring for their teeth are great positive experiences.

An early dental visit once your child’s teeth are coming through or around 2 years of age allows us to familiarise them with the dental environment. We can also make recommendations for helping care for their teeth at home, which has benefits over their lifetime.

While they may not be there forever, they play an important role in growth, development, and positive dental experiences.

Does your child need some tooth-brushing tips, or are you simply looking for a family-friendly dentist? Give the team at Blomberg Dental a call today.



How often should kids see the dentist? For the vast majority of kids having the teeth checked and professionally cleaned every six months is ideal. This gives the dentist a chance to check the level of oral hygiene and motivate when needed, assess the risk of decay and prevent when required, and monitor the growth of the face and the transition from baby teeth to adult teeth.

In dentistry prevention is paramount, therefore children that have regular checks generally have far fewer dental problems. Developing a good relationship with a family dentist is something that will benefit them for their entire lives.

At what age do the baby teeth start to fall out?

Most often it’s the lower front teeth that will be lost first and that usually occurs around six years of age. However, losing the first tooth any time from four and a half to seven and a half years old is not abnormal.
Around the same time it is likely that the child will have their first adult molars erupt at the very back of the mouth. They are essentially teething again and so if they have a fever or are just not themselves this may be the cause.

At what age should my child have all their adult teeth?

Again this can be quite variable but in most cases it is between the ages of 12 and 14. We often refer to this time as the ugly duckling stage because having adult sized teeth in a child sized head looks out of proportion. Around this age is often a good time to start orthodontic treatment and the family dentist can support this if required.

How does a dentist appointment for children differ to an appointment for adults?

In a lot of ways the appointments can be very similar. We talk and build trust at the start, look at the teeth and gums and give advice on how to keep things healthy, and prevent small problems from growing into big ones. The main difference is the topics of conversation.




My child is having some issues with his development, but I’m not sure whether to see a Speech Pathologist or an Occupational Therapist. What does a speech pathologist do, and what is the difference between the two?

Speech pathologist

Speech-Language Pathologists help kids (and adults) with all aspects of communication, as well as swallowing/feeding. An SLP might be able to assist if you are concerned about how well your child is talking, how they interact with other children, learning to read and write, or eating skills.

Occupational therapist

An Occupational Therapist’s (OTs) role is to assist children who need support to do daily activities – this often is on the shape of fine motor skills for dressing or writing, as well as assistance with toileting or self help skills. ATs also assist children who have difficulties with processing different sensory information. Quite often children with developmental difficulties need input from both SLPs and OTs.




If an area of difficulty has been identified with your child’s speech, language or literacy skills, or if you’re concerned about their development, it’s worthwhile booking an assessment with a Speech Pathologist. The assessment will identify if there is a delay and the Speech Pathologist will discuss options for treatment with you.

Booking an Assessment

Families are able to book assessments without the need for a referral from the GP. Families simply need to choose a Speech Pathologist they would like to see and ring to book an assessment session. During this initial phone call, you will likely be asked about your concerns for your child, as well as some basic details.

This will help the Speech Pathologist prepare for your initial session and choose the right assessment for your child. During this phone call sessions costs will be outlined, and you may be asked if you have any type of funding or rebates.

During an Assessment

During an initial assessment a variety of things may occur, these vary depending on the child’s age and skills. You should expect:

The speech pathologist to ask you a range of questions about your child, so they can gather a case history.

An assessment. This may be a formal assessment where the child is asked to follow different instructions. It could also be an informal assessment where your child is assessed through play-based tasks.

A summary from the speech pathologist outlining the information they have gathered and a discussion regarding where to from here. This discussion will cover topics such as if it’s necessary to begin therapy and how often therapy should occur. It’ll also include what therapy goals will be targeted.

Following an assessment, a speech pathologist will typically provide you with a written report. This is usually included in the initial cost but can sometimes be an extra cost. This report will give details of the difficulties your child is having and include some recommendations.

Funding and Rebates

There are a range of options available to families to help with the costs of seeing a private speech pathologist, including;

Private health: if you have private health insurance (depending on your policy) you will be able to claim back some of the costs of the assessment session and ongoing therapy.

Medicare rebates, Care Plan: if your child is presenting with a delay that is greater than 6 months, e.g. if they are three and only using single words (see April’s developmental stages article) then it is worthwhile talking to your GP about this option.

If eligible, the plan entitles families to a maximum of 5 rebated sessions throughout the calendar year. It is not necessary to have this plan before seeing a speech pathologist, but it is possible to get one before your first appointment. The care plan gives you a rebate of $52.95 a session, similarly to private health you will be required to cover the gap yourself.

NDIS: The National Disability Insurance Scheme was developed to support people with disabilities. However, they also provide funding to children under the age of 7 who have no diagnosis, but significant delays in more than one area. Children without a diagnosis will require an assessment to identify delays before they are able to apply for funding.

National ADF Family Health Program: This program offers access to free basic health care to recognised dependants of ADF members. Families can be reimbursed for a range of allied health care including Speech Pathology.

Free speech pathology services can also be accessed through Kirwan Health Campus, and James Cook University has speech pathology students providing services for a minimal fee.




It can be difficult knowing what to expect when starting a new type of therapy for the first time. During your child’s first speech pathology session, your speech pathologist will want to find out some background information about your child. This is to gain an understanding of your child’s likes, dislikes, wins and challenges.

Some form of assessment will be completed in order to determine your child’s current areas of strengths and weaknesses to support the goal making process. These assessments will vary depending on the age and skills of each child. Your therapist will be able to discuss these with you. For example, assessments can be in-formal and play based for the younger children. There are also longer standardised assessments for older children.

Treatment goals

The results will then be discussed with you and goals can be set. Therapy goals are set to support the difficulties that your child currently has. Here at Talk Time, we ensure that you are involved in the goal setting process. You know your child the best, and it is important that we use your child’s strengths in order to work on the areas that they are finding difficult.

With your input, goals will be formulated based on our findings from the assessment. We also consider what is impacting you and your child the most at home and at day care/kindy/school.

What happens?

You can expect a lot of games and playing to occur during sessions, but we can assure you that it is more than just playing! There have been many studies completed that prove that children are able to learn more and retain more information when their brain is ‘lit up’. A child’s brain lights up when they are having fun and are engaged in therapy (yes, we do have fun too!).

Mr Potato Head is always a popular choice with children of all ages here at Talk Time. This game can be used to target many skills. These include vocabulary (e.g. eyes, nose, hat), choice making, following instructions, recalling spoken information and speech sounds, just to name a few!

What will they learn?

During therapy, your child will be learning new skills and learning new skills requires practice! Think about learning to ride a bike. Have you seen a young child jump on a two-wheel bike for the first time and start to ride with no wobbles or crashes?

Children start with tricycles before progressing to a two-wheel bike with training wheels. The training wheels are then removed, and a child will be riding on a two-wheel bike. However, even then, we expect a child to have some falls before they can ride with ease.

Practice, practice, practice

Sure, a child will learn to ride a new bike eventually if they practice 30-45 minutes once a week. However, they will get there much quicker if they practice an extra 10 minutes, five times per week! This is why ‘homework’ is provided after each session.

Homework is not difficult to complete and will not be anything that is new. Rather, it will be strategies and activities that have already been targeted in therapy to complete throughout the week. This ensures that your child is continuing to practice the new skills that they are learning. We completely understand that you are busy at home with other children, sporting and family commitments. Therefore, the strategies and activities provided can often be incorporated into activities that you are already doing. This includes when doing homework, playing or even when driving in the car.

How many sessions?

We are often asked, “How many sessions will my child need to attend?” We wish that we could have a crystal ball to give you this answer! Unfortunately, as much as we would like to, we simply cannot answer this question. There are a number of variables impacting the length of therapy, as different children will have different goals and all children learn in different ways and at different speeds. Regular attendance to sessions and ensuring that home practice is completed helps to speed up the therapy process!