We believe that the easiest and most effective way to instill good oral health habits for life is to get an early start
At Southbrook Dental Group we believe that the easiest most effective way to instill good oral health habits for life is to have an early start, therefore we do all we can to make a trip to the dentist fun and interesting for our youngest patients while promoting a positive attitude an establishing good dental hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.
Often first time parents of small children will have questions or concerns about proper dental hygiene and good oral health practices, so we’ve collected the questions heard the most often about children’s dentistry and provided answers. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please contact our office to learn more or to schedule an appointment.
Answers to the top questions about children’s dentistry
Most children have started to grow primary teeth at 6 months to a year of age, so this an excellent time to get started establishing good dental hygiene habits. If however you have any questions or concerns prior to 6 months please feel free to contact us.
Establishing good oral hygiene habits at a young age may be the most effective means of preventing the occurrence of dental problems later in life. Primary teeth play an important role in your child’s appearance, speech patterns and eating ability, as well as their developing self-confidence. Primary teeth have thinner enamel and problems can quickly develop and progress once they have started.
Very young children may not like brushing their teeth. Give them a role in the process by letting them choose their own toothbrush and brush their own teeth (be sure to point out any missed spots). Establish a schedule morning and night of brushing at the same time of the day so that it becomes a habit. When children are young it is important that parents have the primary role of brushing and flossing their children’s teeth. If your child is uncooperative please call us so we can offer some suggestions.
Most children are ready to start learning how to care for their teeth by the age of 2 or 3 and the best way to help is to teach them the correct brushing methods. Demonstrate to your child the proper way to brush. Holding their toothbrush at an angle towards the teeth and gums, and moving it back and forth with short strokes. Make sure your child brushes all surfaces of the teeth and gently brushes the tongue. In order to make sure that areas are not being missed, parents should be “touching up” or checking their children’s teeth. Once children acquire the dexterity to tie their own shoes they are often able to properly brush and floss their teeth.
Bacteria that is present in the mouth feeds on sugars that have been ingested and create acids that can damage or dissolve teeth. To avoid childhood tooth decay, give your child water in a bottle at bedtime rather than juice or milk. Both juice and milk will allow sugars to coat the teeth throughout the night and overtime create tooth decay at an early age. For younger children always clean their teeth or gums after drinking breast milk or formula, especially prior to nighttime sleeps. Limit your child’s access to sweets and encourage him or her to brush after eating to remove bacteria and acids. Fluoride treatment can also strengthen teeth and help your child avoid tooth decay.
Thumb-sucking is fairly common in infants and children up to about age 4, but it can cause problems if it continues after permanent teeth begin to erupt. Pushing them out of alignment or causing malformations to develop on the roof of the mouth. Thumb-sucking can also affect the position of your child’s lower and upper jaw, as well as your child’s speech.
Thumb-sucking is a comfort behaviour used to relieve anxiety. Scolding or confronting your child only acerbates the situations.
- Explain to the child that thumb-sucking can damage his or her teeth
- Limit the times and places: for example, thumb-sucking can be confined to naptime or bedtime
- Make your child aware of thumb-sucking when it occurs – children often do it unconsciously
- Notice and offer praise when the child does not resort to thumb-sucking – positive reinforcement is powerful
- Let the child know they will grow out of the habit, just like other people and character they admire
- In severe cases appliances can be placed that will gently but affectively deter the habit.
If thumb-sucking continues to be a problem, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists. We will be happy to help!