When should I bring my child for the first dental visit?
When will my Baby Start Getting Teeth?
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Early Childhood Caries)?
When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?
What’s the best toothpaste for my Child?
When should I floss my child’s teeth?
Can problems result from prolonged thumb or pacifier sucking?
What should I do with my child’s thumbsucking or pacifier habit?
Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. Children who have established a “dental home” early are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care and be more comfortable in the dentist’s office.
To support the BC Dental Association’s and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendations to have your child’s first dental exam completed by their first birthday, we offer a complimentary dental exam for children under 18 months of age. Contact us now and make an appointment today
Most babies start to get their first tooth by 6 month of age. All 20 baby teeth would usually be in the mouth by 3 years of age.
This is a chart showing the sequence of how the teeth would start to appear in your baby’s mouth.
This is a chart showing the order in which adult teeth start to appear in a child’s mouth.
Dental caries (tooth decay) is a bacterial infection of the teeth. It can be transmitted from one person to another; just like a cold or flu. Certain bacteria in the mouth change the sugars and starches left on our teeth from food we eat or drink into an acid. The acid eats away the enamel, or the white outer surface of the teeth, causing holes on the teeth. Young children are more at risk for cavities than adults because the baby teeth enamel is thinner than adult teeth.
Putting a child to bed with a bottle containing formula, milk, juice or soda, or sleeping with your child so they can breast feed at will can lead to severe decay. Unswallowed sweet liquids in the mouth support bacteria that attack the teeth and can lead to severe caries. Protect your child from early childhood caries by putting them to sleep with only a pacifier or a bottle of water.;
Start cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they appear. A small, pea-size dab of fluoride toothpaste can be used. On outer and inner surfaces of the teeth, place toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and start along gum line, using gentle, short strokes. On chewing surfaces, hold the brush flat and brush back and forth.
Watch a video demo of toothbrushing:
One of the best ways to encourage brushing is to be a good role model. Many parents brush their own teeth while brushing their child’s, making brushing a fun time together.
One of the best ways to encourage brushing is to use fluoride toothpaste that’s pleasing and easy to use. The taste can make brushing a more enjoyable experience, leading to more thorough brushing. It’s important to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste to help strengthen tooth enamel. Be sure to control the amount of toothpaste your young child uses and to keep it stored out of his/her reach.
Some parents are worried about their child swallowing too much toothpaste. If you use a very small amount twice a day, there is no evidence to show that it is detrimental to your child’s health.
Here are the links to the position statements regarding the use of fluoride from two reputable organizations:
- Canadian Dental Association: Position in the use of fluorides in caries prevention
- American Academy of Pediatric dentist
Flossing daily removes plaque and food particles between teeth and below the gumline. You should start flossing your child’s teeth to establish the habit, especially if their teeth are close together. You will have to help your young children floss as many children do not have the manual dexterity to manipulate the floss.
Watch a video demo of flossing:
The intensity of the sucking is a factor that determines whether dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. Some aggressive thumbsuckers may cause problems to their baby teeth. The good news is that as long as your child stops the habit before the permanent front teeth come in (at around 5-6 years old), there should not be any lasting changes affecting the teeth and jaw alignment.
Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs. However, pacifier use is often an easier habit to break.
Most children stop on their own between the ages of two and four years. Sucking gradually lessens during this period, as children spend more of their waking hours exploring their surroundings. If your child does not stop on his or her own by age four, you can discourage the habit by:
- Offering your child praise for not sucking (avoid scolding). Remember that children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure or seeking comfort. Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and comfort your child.
- Rewarding your child when he or she avoids sucking during difficult periods, such as being separated from loved ones.
- We can help encourage children to stop sucking and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop.
At the Children’s Oral Care Centre, our dental team is eager to partner up with you to stop your child’s bad habit. Please ask us about our “Soother Exchange Program” at your next visit.
Please follow this link to the some of our patient’s testimonies surrounding the Soother Exchange Program