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How can I help my young child keep a healthy smile?

We believe that caring for children's baby teeth and teaching them oral hygiene early in life sets the foundation for great oral health for the rest of their lives at Cambie Village Dental. Today, our Vancouver dentists offer advice on how to keep your child's smile healthy.

Every day, your child is learning new things and growing. It is critical to care for your toddler's baby teeth and smiles early on, as their early years can lay the groundwork for good oral health for the rest of their life. Today, we'll go over why baby teeth are important and how you can help your child maintain a healthy smile.

Why are baby teeth important?

You may be wondering why baby teeth are important when they are not permanent and will eventually fall out. Around 6 months of age, the first baby teeth, which are usually the front bottom teeth, begin to break through the gums. The last baby teeth usually appear in the back of the mouth, in the upper jaw, around the age of three, when your child will have ten top teeth and ten bottom teeth.

Baby teeth play a variety of important roles in the mouths of our young patients. They're for talking, eating, and flashing that thousand-watt smile that lights up the room. A child's baby teeth also serve as a placeholder in the jaws for adult teeth.

Your child will begin to lose their first baby tooth around the age of six, and adult teeth will begin to emerge. This tooth loss must occur at the right time. If your child loses a baby tooth too soon, talk to your dentist about how to keep the proper space in the mouth so the adult teeth can erupt normally.

How should I take care of baby teeth?

Now is the time to create a solid oral health care routine for your child. By combining at-home care with regular dental visits, you can help keep your child's smile healthy. 

Brush twice per day (morning and night) to prevent cavities. 

To keep your newborn's mouth clean, wipe it with a wet pad or cloth. Use a rice-sized grain of child-friendly toothpaste on an ultra-soft toothbrush for children under the age of three. For children aged 3 and up, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Switch to fluoridated toothpaste once your child can spit out all of the toothpaste after brushing (ask your dentist before switching). Each time, assist your child in brushing his or her teeth until you are confident that your child has thoroughly cleaned each tooth.

Visit your child's dentist regularly 

We recommend that parents schedule their child's first dental appointment no later than their child's first birthday. The first baby tooth should have emerged by this point. We'll examine your child's mouth for plaque or cavities, tell you when your baby's next tooth is due, and show you how to care for your child's teeth at home. Every six months, children should visit the dentist for a professional checkup and cleaning.

Limit sugary or acidic treats 

Soda and fruit juice contain high levels of acid and sugar, which can harm your child's baby teeth. Sugary treats, such as candy, should be avoided as well, as sugar can weaken tooth enamel and increase your child's risk of cavities.

Look into dental sealants for your child 

Sealants are special coatings that are applied to a child's molar pits and grooves (back teeth). These prevent cavities from forming on the biting surfaces of teeth. If your child is at high risk for cavities, your dentist may recommend sealants.

Check into fluoride treatment 

Fluoride is a proactive measure to help protect your child's teeth from cavities.  

Floss regularly 

Once all the baby teeth have erupted, start flossing. We can offer special flossers for kids. 

This is general advice. Certain children may have special circumstances and may need to see the dentist more often for checkups or cleanings. 

Would you like to learn more about caring for your child's teeth? Contact your Vancouver dentists at Cambie Village Dental today to schedule an appointment. 

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Looking for a dentist in Vancouver? We're always delighted to accept new patients into our dental family! Contact us to get started today.

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