Dental care for children is a subject that creates quite a stir. One main reason is that kids can get hurt while playing at school or daycare and its rather difficult for parents to detect dental problems that may arise. Outaouais parents want what is best for their children’s oral health, and dental care is paramount.
As you’ve probably seen in several children’s films, dentists are portayed as “the bad guys”. Do you remember Sherman the Dentist in the Pixar Studio film “Finding Nemo”? How many times have you noticed that your child is afraid of the dentist? This false impression makes children’s dental visits, which should amount to 2 per year, a bit awkward. The best way to help them face this fear is to show the dentist as a solution finder or the person who will take away the pain due to a cavity or an infection.
When should the first visit to the dentist be?
You should bring your child to the dentist at the onset of the first tooth. The dentist will then guide you to through the next steps.
Is it too early? As soon as the first tooth erupts, the dentist will assess your child’s oral health and quickly detect early problems. After a first visit, we suggest visiting the dentist every 6 months for control and monitoring. Eventually, your child should get his first dental cleaning and fluoride application at the age of 3. All primary teeth should have appeared before the age of 2 or 3.
Why make a dental appointment every 6 months?
For different reasons. First, your dentist may notice changes in your child’s primary teeth to make sure they do not overlap. In most cases, teeth straighten themselves, but if this is not the case, the dentist is in the best position to determine how to proceed.
Children and cavities
The dentist’s objective is to repair teeth cavities quickly, even on primary teeth. Indeed, its highly desirable to keep primary teeth as long as possible. However, when a cavity appears, it may be that the dentist must remove the tooth and create a hole in the mouth. This hole can be problematic since surrounding teeth might take up too much space and prevent a permanent tooth to grow.
To counter this problem, its possible to install a stainless steel and/or plastic space maintainer. A filling is also a solution. As with a dental crown (see our article on this subject), the dentist removes the cavity and fills the space with metal, plastic or other material. The primary tooth is preserved until it falls naturally.
Food – Cavity of the young child
If you give milk, juice, or if you breast-feed your child in the evening before bedtime, they could develop a cavity of young children. In fact, all of these are good for children, but because of their sugar content, they can also cause cavities. Bedtime is a good time for the propagation of bacteria and you could try giving a bottle of water instead of milk. This will totally prevent the risk of infection or the cavity of the young child.
We advise you to check your child’s teeth regularly. Beware of spots or dull white lines that can show up on the teeth or on the edge of the gums. If you think your child is developing young child cavities, contact the dental clinic to address the problem.
Food – Beware of sugar!
Kids love sugar, but its the one food you have to watch the most, natural as much as artificial sugar. The ravages of sugar in children’s mouths depend on its amount and duration in the mouth, hence the importance of young children brushing their teeth at least twice daily.
How to brush my child’s teeth
Brushing teeth is very important to your child’s oral health. Remember that before the age of 6, you must do the brushing yourself or check after each brushing how well its done. Before the age of 6 months, gently clean newborn gums with a damp washcloth after each feeding. Then, with the eruption of the first tooth, you can start using a small toothbrush with soft bristles. Use a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) and continue to brush gums gently.
From the age of 3 up to 6, it is advisable to continue brushing using a little toothpaste about the size of a pea. Later, when your child is around 6 years old, you can show him how to brush his teeth making sure its done right. If your child wants to do it himself, check after each brushing and complete the task until he knows how to do it properly.
Brushing your child’s teeth before bedtime is a must. Indeed, the accumulated bacteria all day on your child’s teeth will have all night to wreak havoc. Brushing teeth at night is so important. Finally, you must floss your child’s teeth, since he doesn’t have the manual dexterity to do so before the age of 12 years.
The Régie de l’Assurance maladie du Québec provides financial coverage for children under 10 for some dental treatments, such as a yearly dental examination, an emergency exam, x-rays, etc. Read details here.
We know that you take your children’s dental health at heart. That is why at Dr. David Côté Dental Clinic we have the best resources in the field of oral health. Contact our dental health professionals Dr. Martin Dubois and Dr. David Côté now to take care of your child’s oral health.