Why Babies Need Dentists

The adage ‘prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is never truer than when it comes to your children’s teeth. Early intervention ensures healthy teeth and good dental hygiene habits, which contribute to your child’s overall health.


 

From Birth to 12 Months

The Canadian Dental Association recommends the first dental check-up with a dentist within 6 months of the appearance of the first tooth or by the age of one. All teeth are susceptible to decay, especially your baby goes to bed with a bottle of milk, juice or formula. Decay can also occur with breastfed babies, though it is less likely.

Prior to the appearance of the first tooth, you can gently wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, clean cloth. Once the first tooth appears, you can start gently brushing your baby’s teeth with a soft bristle toothbrush at least once a day - bedtime is best.

Your baby’s first dental exam will likely include a thorough examination of the gums, jaw, teeth, bite and possibly a gently cleaning if required. The dentist will also walk you through proper cleaning techniques and assess the need for fluoride. X-rays are typically not recommended for young children except under exceptional circumstances.

Children should see a dentist every 6 months following the initial visit. This ensures that any issues are identified and resolved early.

 

From Ages 1 - 2

Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice daily using a non-fluoridated toothpaste (unless recommended otherwise by the dentist). As you brush their teeth, check for any signs of decay, which can appear as brown or chalky-white spots on the teeth or along the gum line. At any sign of spots, take your child to the dentist. Switch from a bottle to a cup between 12 - 15 months and limit any soother use to naptime or bedtime.

 

From Ages 3-4

Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice daily using a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste (the size of a pea) and encourage them to spit it out rather than swallow. They can start brushing at this stage but you will need to supervise and finish the job as it is not likely they will reach all surfaces. Teach them the ‘2 for 2’ rule (twice a day for two minutes). If your child is still sucking their thumb or on a soother, talk to the dentist about it at the next appointment.

 

Intervene and Familiarize

Despite the fact that baby (or primary) teeth fall out, cavities need to be filled by the dentist because your child may retain some primary teeth for up to 12 years. If decay is not treated quickly, it will likely cause infection and pain over time. Also, if a primary tooth is not filled, becomes problematic and needs to be extracted, the space that remains may cause issues when the permanent teeth begin to come in.

 

Ultimately, the goal is to address any issues before there’s a problem. In most cases, a dental exam every six months will let your child's dentist catch small problems early, provide intervention in a timely way, familiarize your child with the dentist, and help your child understand that regular dental exams prevent problems and are an important part of staying healthy.

 

Why Babies Need Dentists

The adage ‘prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is never truer than when it comes to your children’s teeth. Early intervention ensures healthy teeth and good dental hygiene habits, which contribute to your child’s overall health.

 

From Ages 1 - 2

Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice daily using a non-fluoridated toothpaste (unless recommended otherwise by the dentist). As you brush their teeth, check for any signs of decay, which can appear as brown or chalky-white spots on the teeth or along the gum line. At any sign of spots, take your child to the dentist. Switch from a bottle to a cup between 12 - 15 months and limit any soother use to naptime or bedtime.

 

From Ages 3-4

Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice daily using a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste (the size of a pea) and encourage them to spit it out rather than swallow. They can start brushing at this stage but you will need to supervise and finish the job as it is not likely they will reach all surfaces. Teach them the ‘2 for 2’ rule (twice a day for two minutes). If your child is still sucking their thumb or on a soother, talk to the dentist about it at the next appointment.

 

Intervene and Familiarize

Despite the fact that baby (or primary) teeth fall out, cavities need to be filled by the dentist because your child may retain some primary teeth for up to 12 years. If decay is not treated quickly, it will likely cause infection and pain over time. Also, if a primary tooth is not filled, becomes problematic and needs to be extracted, the space that remains may cause issues when the permanent teeth begin to come in.

Ultimately, the goal is to address any issues before there’s a problem. In most cases, a dental exam every six months will let your child's dentist catch small problems early, provide intervention in a timely way, familiarize your child with the dentist, and help your child understand that regular dental exams prevent problems and are an important part of staying healthy.

 

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Posted by Northland Village Dental Centre