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Children and the Dentist

Dr. Ponsford and her young assistant taking care of mom

You already know it is important to take care of your teeth daily at home and to go to the dentist regularly, but when is it time for your child to begin to participate in proper oral care?

When can my child brush their own teeth?

A parent should be brushing their child’s teeth or supervising them to ensure cleaning is done well. When your child is able to tie their shoes, that’s when they have the dexterity to brush their own teeth thoroughly and properly. Brushing small children's teeth can be challenging as they may not want to sit still for two minutes, however, it is necessary so they do not develop tooth decay or gum disease.

Even before your child has teeth, it is important to be clean your baby’s mouth. Wiping their mouth and gums with a clean, damp washcloth will keep their mouth clean. A small and soft baby toothbrush can also be used to clean their mouths, however, it should be dampened with water. No toothpaste should be used until they have teeth.

When is it time to start brushing and flossing?

Once a tooth has erupted it is time to start brushing. Use a soft bristle toothbrush with a grain-of-rice size toothpaste at the beginning. At the age of three, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste can be used. You should begin to floss your child’s teeth as soon as they have two or more teeth.

When do children start getting teeth? When do baby teeth start falling out?

A child should expect their first tooth at six to ten months old and can expect to lose their first tooth at six to seven years old.

When is it time to visit the dentist?

It’s recommended, by the Alberta Dental Association, that your child should have their first visit with their dentist by the time they are twelve months old, or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. It’s important to bring your child to the dentist when they’re young for a few reasons.

  • Your dentist will be able to find any issues your child’s teeth may have early and can begin to treat it. This helps to prevent further problems that can become complicated and expensive over time.

  • Your dentist and hygienist can verify if the cleaning that is being done at home is effective and go over the proper diet and oral health for your child.

  • Regular dental visits and at home care starting at a young age is important for teaching children proper habits for caring for their teeth.

Stony Plain Dental also offers happy visits to young patients, allowing them to come into the clinic and become comfortable with the clinic and staff before getting actual care or treatment.

If your child is anxious during their dental exams, Nitrous Oxide, or laughing gas, can be used during their exam to help them relax. You can learn more about Nitrous in our blog called Nitrous Oxide: Learning about laughing gas or call us at 780-963-4626.

To hear more about children and the dentist, watch Dr. Gangji in the video below.

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