The most important activities you can do to help your child have healthy teeth are:
- participate in their nightly oral care
- be an excellent role model by taking care of your own teeth, and
- be an advocate of the dental office as being a fun, safe, rewarding place to go to have their teeth cleaned and checked.
Avoid threatening words and remarks such as, “if you don’t brush your teeth it’s gonna hurt so you’ll have to go to the scary dentist and get a needle.” Instead, speak positively with motivating language such as “it’s totally possible to have healthy teeth for life if we take great care of them every day.”
To build independence, your early-elementary-aged children may do their morning toothbrushing themselves, but an adult should do the evening brushing and flossing for them every night until they have the manual dexterity to write their name with cursive handwriting.
Potential Infant Dental Issues
A baby is at risk for tooth decay as soon as the first tooth emerges. In particular, infants who drink pop, juice, baby formula, or sweetened water from a baby bottle or sippy cup are at high risk for early childhood cavities.
To counteract this threat, Summerside dentists discourage parents from filling cups with acidic or sugary fluids, transmitting oral bacteria to the child via shared spoons and/or cleaning pacifiers in their mouths.
Too much fluoride ingestion between the ages of one and four years old may lead to a condition known as fluorosis in later childhood. Conversely, too little fluoride may render young tooth enamel susceptible to tooth decay.
First Visits to the Dentist
At your toddler’s first dental visit, our caring providers will ask questions about the general health of the child, the child’s oral care and habits, diet, and current fluoride intake.
Since “a picture is worth 1000 words,” close-up photos of your child’s teeth and bite will be enlarged and shown to you on a screen. An age-appropriate complimentary toothbrush and floss, and possibly a prophy or spin brush, may be used to gently clean your child’s teeth.
The dentist will then examine the oral tissues, teeth and bite, and may advise parents on the following issues:
- Accident prevention
- Choosing a non-fluoridated brand of toothpaste for the infant, eg. MIPaste
- Choosing an appropriate toothbrush
- Choosing an orthodontically correct pacifier until age 1, then an Infant Trainer or T4K Trainer for Kids to counteract the negative effects of a soother
- Correct positioning of the head during tooth brushing
- Eliminating fussing during the oral care routine
- Maintaining good dietary habits
- Minimizing the risk of tooth decay
- Reducing sugar, hard candy and acidic beverage intake
- Teething and developmental milestones
If you have further questions or concerns about the timing or nature of your child’s first oral checkup, please call Summerside Dental.
How do I prevent cavities in my kid's teeth?
Brush your toddler's teeth twice per day with a remineralizing toothpaste such as MIPaste (Minimally Invasive Paste), which we sell at Summerside Dental. Children do not need to be able to spit the excess MIPaste out, since it is made out of the cow’s milk protein casein, so it is strengthening as it bathes the teeth with calcium and phosphate. Most children are able to brush and floss their teeth by themselves once they have the dexterity to write their name in cursive letters.
What age should I bring my child in to a kid-friendly dentist?
Most families have found that shortly after their child’s third birthday, the child is able to sit in a dentist's chair and have their teeth checked and cleaned. If you notice dark spots on your toddler's teeth you may schedule a primary exam or “first dental visit before age three” appointment. Your child may sit on your lap and rest his/her head back on your chest for us to see the teeth and quickly brush them with a toothbrush. If the dark spots are just staining we will try to scale them off, but if they are cavities we may need to refer your child to a Pediatric Dentist. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is available at Summerside Dental for some children who qualify for this modality. Please phone us at 780-665-4833 to schedule your child’s primary examination.
Are my child’s adult teeth coming in correctly?
Quite commonly, lower front adult teeth erupt behind the baby teeth, nearer to the tongue, creating two rows of teeth — like “shark teeth”. The corresponding baby teeth often need to be extracted by one of our general dentists, since their roots were not resorbed normally by the adult teeth. Other concerns with your child’s teeth (such as crowding, spacing, mouth breathing, cross bites, deep bites, or open bites) should be assessed and possibly treated with removable dental appliances at an early age. Interception, prevention of extraction of adult teeth, and expansion of arches create smiles that are broad, functional and beautiful, and may save your child from needing braces in the future. Phone us at 780-665-4833 to schedule your child’s regular checkup and cleaning appointment, where we will assess the alignment of the teeth and bite.