FAQs About Children's Dental Care

For answers to our most frequently asked questions about children's dental health and oral hygiene, read through the Smile Town Dentistry North Delta FAQs.


General Questions

Do babies need to go to the dentist?

Children need dental care as soon as their baby teeth begin to erupt. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, or by they time they are a year old. > Learn More

Why are primary (baby) teeth important?

Primary teeth are important for a variety of reasons. First of all, they make it possible for your child to chew and digest all the nutrients they need to be healthy. Baby teeth also function as a guide for emerging permanent (adult) teeth. > Learn More

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is whats happens when plaque build up causes the dentin and enamel of the teeth to erode. This is most often caused by poor oral hygiene combined with a diet high in sugars and acidic foods. > Learn More

What causes plaque?

When the bacteria in the mouth consume sugar, they turn it into acid plaque, which wears away at the enamel and dentin of the teeth. In the long run, this causes tooth decay. > Learn More

What is gum disease?

When food debris and bacteria build up on the teeth, they form a sticky film known as plaque. When plaque hardens it forms tartar, all while yet more plaque forms. Over time, the tartar and plaque infect the gums, which causes them to become swollen, red, and sore. This condition is called gum disease. > Learn More

How can I tell if my child has tooth decay or gum disease?

The initial signs of gum disease and tooth decay are not always obvious. Although you can keep an eye out for symptoms like soreness, pain, bleeding gums, swelling, and redness, the best way to avoid tooth decay or gum disease is by making regular appointments with a dentist. The dentist will be able to detect tooth decay and gum disease, and also clean teeth, in ways that you can't at home. > Learn More

Should I be worried if my child's new adult teeth look yellow?

No. Permanent teeth can be a bit yellow in appearance when they first grow in. This is because the dentin in your child's teeth is developing as it should; it's a good thing! > Learn More

What is fluoride? Is it safe?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in soil, water, and certain foods. Fluoride can have a positive impact on children's oral health because it helps their developing teeth resist tooth decay, and can even reverse it. Fluoride is safe and effective when used as directed, but in high doses, it can be hazardous, and may actually weaken teeth. > Learn More

What are dental sealants and how do they work?

When dental sealants are applied to the grooves and recesses of teeth, they fill them in, creating a smooth surface that is easier to clean. > Learn More

Practicalities

At what age should children have their first dental check up?

Most dental professionals agree that children should visit the dentist for the first time within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, or by the time they turn 1 year old. Prevention and treatment at this early age will give your child a head start when it comes to life-long oral health.

How often should children visit the dentist?

At a minimum, your child should visit the dentist every 6 months for cleaning and check ups. However, the dentist may recommend that your child visit more often if he or she requires more frequent treatment.

When should I start brushing my child's teeth?

As soon as the first teeth start to emerge, you can start brushing them with a soft toothbrush and either water, or a tiny dab of tooth paste. Even before the teeth begin to emerge, its good practice to clean your baby's gums after meals using a soft cloth and water.

When should my child start using toothpaste?

You can begin to introduce toothpaste into your child's oral care routine around the age of 2.5 - 3 years. Transition from water slowly, and use only a tiny dab of toothpaste to start with.

What kind of toothpaste should my child use?

If it is approved by the Canadian Dental Association, contains fluoride, and does not contain any whitening agents, then your toothpaste is perfectly safe for your child to use. Many pharmacies sell toothpaste for children in flavours that aren't as jarring as that of regular toothpaste! These can be great for kids who are just starting out with toothpaste.

How often should children brush their teeth?

Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day, just like adults. Good times to brush include after each meal, first thing in the morning, and right before bed.

What if my child's gums bleed during brushing or flossing?

When children first start flossing, a little bleeding is to be expected. This happens because their gums just aren't yet used to flossing yet, and it should sort itself out over time. In the meantime, make sure that you (or your child) flosses gently, and that you use soft, flexible floss. If the bleeding goes on for more than a couple of weeks after your child first starts flossing, though, make an appointment with your dentist; there may be a problem developing, such as gum disease.

What should I do in case of a dental emergency?

Fortunately, dental emergencies are quite rare, but they do sometimes happen.

Seek medical help if your child has

  • A toothache that persists after the area has been cleaned and rinsed with warm water
  • A cut or bitten lip, tongue, or cheek. If applying ice to the area doesn't reduce swelling within two hours, or if applying gauze doesn't stop the bleeding, you should bring your child to the doctor or emergency room.
  • A broken tooth. If you can find the tooth, pick it up carefully by the top (not the root) and see if you can place it back into the socket. If you can't, put the tooth in cold milk (not water). Whether or not you can replace it in the socket, bring your child to the dentist immediately.

> Learn More

How can I help relieve my child's dental care anxiety?

You can help relieve your child's worries about dental care in a variety of ways. Start by preparing you child for dental appointments with honest talk, engaging books, and a regular at-home oral hygiene routine. If your child's anxiety can't be overcome with these methods, we also offer a variety of safe sedation options.

Can Smile Town Dentistry treat children with special needs?

We certainly can! At Smile Town Dentistry, we are experienced in treating children across a wide spectrum of needs. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, and you're concerned about his or her oral health, we can help.

Can't Find What You Need?

If you don't see an answer to your question here, get in touch! Our team would be happy to answer your question one on one.

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