An Introduction to Your Child’s Oral Health

Our office welcomes children of all ages! What does that truly mean? At 6 months old, infant’s first teeth begin to erupt. Teething marks the start of a life time of responsibility to care for one’s teeth.

Our goal is to help each patient to feel comfortable while maintaining their dental heath through positive interactions at our office. This is especially important when treating young pediatric patients. Our team of experienced professionals ensures your child is excited about their dental visits from the moment they first sit down in our comfortable chairs. We strive to create a nurturing environment using kid-friendly office amenities, innovative techniques, a gentle touch and of course, humour when performing dental treatment. Each patient is special and we tailor care to reflect each child’s unique circumstances. Pain-free Wand® injections, laughing gas (nitrous oxide), mercury-free white fillings and preventive sealants are just some of the myriad of services we offer. We take the time to ensure children and parents alike are educated in their oral health and how to keep sugar bugs away. Above all, every visit to the dentist should be an enjoyable experience. When your child’s treatment is over, a surprise from the treasure chest always awaits!

To ensure you and your child feels at ease upon entering the office, below are some helpful tips and information. It has been you experience that the more informed you are about the first visit, the more comfortable you and your child will feel.

What age should a child start seeing the dentist

The Ontario Dental Association recommends parents bring their children to the dentist within 6 months of the first baby tooth coming in.

What happens at your child’s visit to our office?

A Happy Visit should be your child’s first and every visit thereafter. Dependent upon your child’s confidence level, they may sit on your lap or all on their own. We work to make each ride on the dental chair fun with cool sunglasses and a fun dental bib around their neck. Early infant dental exams tend to be relatively quick, primarily focused on confirming normal development and identifying potential areas of concern. As your child grows, we gradually introduce dental cleanings, flossing, polishing along with their favorite flavour of fluoride (mine is bubble gum). X-ray pictures are often taken by age of 5 to check between the teeth for possible tooth decay and ensure the adult teeth are present and developing normally. At each visit, we review your child’s oral hygiene status and suggest strategies to keep the sugar bugs at bay. Your child’s visit ends with a fresh new toothbrush and surprise from the Treasure Chest!

Why take care of baby teeth if they are going to fall out?

This particular question is still quite common. Deciduous-baby teeth are present from approximately 6 months of life until approximately age 14. Throughout that time, baby teeth similar to adult teeth are susceptible to tooth decay and infection. In fact, baby teeth are more prone to dental disease as they possess only the thinnest protective layer of enamel. Untreated dental disease compromises your child’s ability to eat, sleep and function comfortably. Left untreated, a decayed baby tooth will inevitably cause pain and infection that can also affect the health of the developing adult teeth. Without preventive pediatric dental care, your child’s adult teeth could then erupt malformed or possibly not come in at all. In addition, early and regular childhood visits help to identify dental issues including bite problems, missing teeth, tongue ties, and much more. Starting dental care at a young age ensures both parent and child posses the knowledge and tools to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Our goal is to hopefully prevent dental disease throughout your child’s life.

How many baby teeth does a child have?

Your child’s first baby teeth begin to erupt between 5-12 months of age. Baby teeth will continue to erupt in synch with facial growth until approximately age 3. By the time your child has finished teething, they should possess 20 primary teeth.

When do baby teeth start of fall out?

Beginning at approximately age 6, adult teeth as they erupt cause loosening of the overlying baby teeth. This process typically continues until approximately age 12. A full set of adult teeth consists of 28 permanent teeth or alternatively, 32 if one includes the wisdom teeth.

How should I take care of my child’s baby teeth?

Prior to teeth erupting, using a moist soft cloth to wipe the gums is a good routine to familiarize your child with oral care. Once teeth start to erupt, brushing should begin. Parents should brush their child’s teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-size amount of fluoride free toothpaste. It is only when your child can predictably spit is it safe to introduce a flouridated toothpaste. Flossing represents an equally necessary component of good oral hygiene. We will be glad to advise you when it is appropriate to introduce flossing for your child. Up to at least age 8, children typically lack both the manual dexterity and commitment to floss. Parents as with all aspects of child rearing must shoulder this responsibility. Your child should NEVER be put to bed with a milk bottle or any sugary drink, only water! Foods and liquids that contain sugars will attack new teeth. Please remember to brush your child’s teeth after feeding or eating. Should you notice signs of decay, contact our office immediately.

Why are children prone to getting tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused when oral bacteria consume dietary sugars and convert them into acid which then breaks down-dissolves the teeth. Children are particularly prone to tooth decay. Both children and young adolescents are simply unable to practice effective personal oral hygiene. Twice daily effective parental brushing and flossing combined with bi-annual professional dental visits will help minimize your child’s risk of developing tooth decay.

How often should my child see the dentist?

Typically, children should visit the dentist every six months for professional examinations and dental cleanings. Our office recommends that fluoride treatments be performed bi-annually in conjunction with dental cleanings to strengthen your child’s teeth. At each visit, oral hygiene effectiveness is reviewed and recommendations specific for your child are discussed as needed.

What are Sealants?

Tooth-dental sealants represent an important adjunct we recommended to seal the deep grooves in your child’s teeth. Sealants when applied early and inspected regularly at each dental check-up prevent decay from forming in these hard-to-reach locations.

Why should my child receive a flouride treatment every 6 months?

You may not be aware that tooth decay represents the #1 health problem in children. The single most effective means of preventing tooth decay is bi-annual professional fluoride treatments. Flouride is a tooth vitamin that when applied to the tooth surface strengthens the tooth enamel on a molecular level making teeth more resistant to bacterial acid attack from sugars in the mouth. Although fluoride is a proven effective dental health tool, it is not a substitute for twice daily parental oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) coupled with a healthy diet. When it comes to your child’s oral health, treatment is important, prevention is better, but early prevention is best!

Additional information on the important role fluoride plays can be accessed from the Ontario Dental Association website:
Ontario Dental Association

New to Your Child’s Oral Health?

Awesome, you want your child to be the best, healthiest, and happiest they can be! Establishing positive habits will do your child(ren) wonders throughout their life. From saving money to ensuring long-lasting oral health, don’t put off their health! To learn more on about your child’s smile or if you have a question, contact our office directly by either phone at (416) 224-2114 or by email at