Your infant’s teeth should be cleaned as soon as they start to appear. Your child’s teeth will start to appear at roughly 6 months of age. By about 24 months of age your child will usually have all 20 of his/her primary teeth.
Brushing is essential and flossing is very important, especially if your child’s teeth are tightly spaced. Always brush with toothpaste before they go to bed with only water to drink after wards. If a toothbrush doesn’t seem appropriate, just smear a minimal amount of toothpaste (pea sized or smaller) on a clean cloth and wipe her/his teeth.
As your child grows, her/his teeth should be brushed after each meal and sugary snack, especially before nap and bed time. When a child sleeps the saliva production in their mouth slows down and bacteria have an opportunity to thrive.
Good oral hygiene practices should start early, as soon as your child’s teeth start to erupt. Setting a good example now will establish positive habits they will hopefully continue throughout their adult life!
Tips to consider:
We recommend using toothpaste with fluoride when you brush your child’s teeth although swallowing fluoride is not advised! If your child can’t spit effectively yet, then use a Kleenex or clean cloth to absorb the toothpaste foam that is created from proper brushing.
A parent should brush a child’s teeth until about the age of eight. Proper supervision may be required beyond that age depending on each particular child.
2 minutes of brushing is the Golden Rule but feel free to spend more time!
Flossing may be required although many children’s primary teeth are well spaced and brushing is able to reach all of the tooth’s surfaces. If flossing is required, it should be done before brushing and at least once a day (preferably at night).
First Time Visits:
It is best to bring your child to the dentist for the first time at about 1-2 years of age. Although your child will not have a full set of primary teeth until about two years of age, we encourage parents to bring their children in when they are younger for several reasons. This will:
We want to teach all of our patients about proper oral hygiene, Establishing good habits early is an important part of reducing and ideally, eliminating most oral health problems. We want our toddlers to know that visiting the dentist is a good thing!
During your child's first visit, we will review their dental and medical history with you, complete an oral examination and assess whether we need to and can successfully obtain X-rays necessary based on your child’s individual needs and disposition at our first meeting..
The Doctor will be checking for cavities, early signs of tooth decay and gingivitis. If treatment is necessary, we will formulate a treatment plan and will answer any questions you may have.
The top surfaces of your child’s teeth - where the chewing takes place - aren't smooth and flat. They are covered with tiny bumps and valleys called pits and fissures. Pits and fissures are the places where plaque can easily build up and food can get stuck, especially if you aren’t brushing and flossing frequently and properly.
Applying a sealant over the top of the tooth is a great way to prevent cavities from developing in the pits and fissures. The process is relatively simply and will not cause your child any pain or discomfort.
First we will clean the tooth, this prepares the enamel to bond more effectively with the sealant material.
We then apply a mild acid solution to 'etch' the surface and make it easier for the pit and fissure sealant to stick.
The sealant solution is then applied to the clean, dry tooth surface and it is then set with our curing light.
Finally, we check your child’s bite to ensure that the sealant has been applied properly.
Keeping the area dry and away from your saliva during the application is very important. If the tooth gets wet, the sealant might not stick properly.
Sealants may last for several years but should be checked regularly for normal wear. Sealants can easily be repaired or replaced if lost or worn. As with most dental work, chewing on ice cubes, hard candy or eating sticky foods should be avoided.
Research into the benefit of tooth sealants as we know them now, a plastic coating which is bonded into the grooves of a tooth's enamel, began in the 1950's and 1960's. With the first commercially available tooth sealants marketed to dentists in the early 1970's.
Sealants are best suited for the first and second permanent molars that erupt around the age of 6 and 12. Although sealants can be applied to other teeth, the greatest prevention success is seen with molars.