Caring for Your Child’s Teeth

When at a young, tender age, children depend on their parents or guardians to care and provide for them in every aspect including looking after their general physical health. When it comes to dental care, there are so many methods to protect your child’s teeth and gums in addition to brushing and flossing. 

Depending on your child’s age, they are either on the way to developing their first set of teeth, often called ‘baby teeth’. They may be at the stage where they are losing their teeth to begin creating room for their permanent set of teeth, usually referred to as ‘adult teeth’. If your child is over the age of 8 or so, they may already be on the way to having a mouth full of adult teeth. 

Why are Baby Teeth Important

You may wonder why baby teeth matter since they are going to fall out of the mouth one day. Baby teeth have many important roles in the mouth. They are needed for eating, speaking and smiling. Baby teeth help keep the space in the jaws for adult teeth. Your child will lose their first baby tooth around age 6 when the adult teeth begin to come into the mouth. If your child loses a baby tooth too early, talk to your child’s dentist about options to keep the correct space in the mouth for the adult tooth to come in normally. 

Watch out for sweet medicines

When we give our children medicine, they are almost always highly concentrated with sugar.  Because of this high sugar content, when intaking these medicines, the sugary residue can cling to your child’s teeth, and in turn, increases the risk of tooth decay. Some asthma medications have also been found to lead to oral thrush which is an oral yeast/fungi infection that appears in in the mouth; along the gums or on the tongue as white patches. 

Maintain a Consistent Brushing Routine

Brush 2 times a day (morning and night) with fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities. For newborns, wipe the gums with a wet cloth or pad to keep the mouth clean. For children younger than age 3, use an amount of toothpaste that is the size of a grain of rice. For children 3 years and older, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Help your child brush their teeth for 2 minutes until you feel sure that your child will brush all sides of their teeth well. 

Clean between their teeth daily once you see two teeth that touch. This helps to get rid of food between teeth and under the gums. Using floss every day also helps to stop cavities from forming between teeth. Just like with brushing, help your child clean between their teeth until they can do it well on their own. 

Watch What Your Child Eats

What your child eats and drinks can hurt their baby teeth. Some drinks including fruit juice and soda can be high in sugar or acid. Limit sugary treats like cookies, too. Sugar and acid can make break down tooth enamel and put teeth at a higher risk for cavities and tooth decay.

Ask About Sealants

 A sealant is a special coating that goes into the grooves of your child’s molars. Sealants help fight chances of getting a cavity. If your dentist feels your child is at high risk for cavities, sealants may be put on your child’s back teeth.

Start dental checkups early

Taking your child to the dentist at an early age is a part of preventive care. Also, by getting ahead of any dental issues, you will likely save yourself some money in their formative years. When you go for your own checkup, have the dentist look at your child’s teeth as well.

If you are in the St. Catherines area and you need a top-quality family dental clinic that will cater to you and your child’s needs, visit Dr. Vlahos’ office. For inquiries or to make an appointment, please call 905-937-4673.