When should my child have her/his first dental visit?
The Canadian Dental Association recommends having the first dental check-up 6 months after the first tooth erupts. This check up usually occurs by 1 year of age.
The dentist says that my child’s baby tooth needs a filling. Why bother filling it if it is just going to fall out?
Some baby teeth will be in your child’s mouth until they are 12-13 years old. If a filling is not done on the tooth, the decay will spread and not only may cause a severe tooth ache but will become more costly to fix. There is also the potential for a dental infection. Dental abscesses (infections) can affect your child’s health as was the case with Deamonte Driver, a 12 year old boy who died due to complications caused by a dental abscess.
Deciduous (baby) teeth save the space for adult teeth. When they are lost pre-maturely due to dental decay a space maintainer may be recommended to ensure that no space is lost. If a space maintainer is not used, your child may require orthodontic (braces) treatment and potentially extractions of perfectly healthy adult teeth to obtain enough space for all the teeth to fit.
How to care for my child’s teeth?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of gold. Helping your child to develop good oral hygiene habits starts young.
It is recommended that even before a child has teeth, you should keep their mouth clean. This can be done by wiping the gums with a clean, damp washcloth. Avoid using toothpaste until your child has teeth.
Children under 3 years of age: New recommendations from the Canadian Dental Association indicate that children who are 1-3 years old should have their teeth brushed with a small amount (the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste if they have a higher risk of cavities. Flossing should be performed by an adult.
Children 3-8 years of age: an adult should assist them to brush their teeth with a fluoridated tooth paste the size of a green pea. Flossing should be performed by an adult.
Children should have their teeth brushed at least twice a day (morning and night) and flossing once daily (ideally before brushing).