From their first gummy smile as an infant to visits from the Tooth Fairy as a toddler and the braces of childhood, your child’s oral health is an important part of their formative years. Caring for teeth not only helps with oral health but also their overall health and wellbeing. Teeth are essential in teaching your child to speak and eat, bringing shape to their face, and providing a map for permanent teeth to grow into. With this in mind, oral health starts long before the first tooth appears and is an essential part of a child’s daily routine.
For children, there are certain risks to consider in their oral health. Primary teeth are coated with a thin enamel layer that will be thicker on permanent teeth. This thin layer poses a higher risk for tooth decay as children. Exercising proper dental care from the start is essential for children to form healthy oral habits like flossing and brushing every day. The pediatric dentistry team at Valley Ridge Dental Centre is experienced in these matters and can help with forming healthy habits, advising on nutrition, and supporting successful home care.
Regular visits to the dentist are also valuable additions to a daily dental care routine. The visit helps to educate on dental hygiene while providing a thorough cleaning and examination. The Valley Ridge Dental Care difference is our dedication to providing the best experience to all our patients – starting with childhood oral health.
Our team is educated on pediatric dentistry as well as how to provide a child-friendly experience. Pediatric dentistry, or pedodontics, is a speciality area focusing on the treatment of young adults, children, and infants. This type of dentistry requires friendliness and patience to teach young children how to take care of their teeth and understand the importance of oral health care.
We understand the dentist can be intimidating for young children, so we take time to establish trust and strive to create a pleasant experience for them. By creating an enjoyable experience, kids will feel comfortable returning and motivated to care for their teeth at home.
Of course, oral health happens outside of the dentist’s office for the most part. A daily routine is essential in long-term oral health. Here are some ways to practice good oral health care at home.
There is sugar in most drinks – especially juice, soft drinks, and milk – that is harmful to that thin enamel layer on primary teeth. If your child regularly consumes these they will be at a higher risk for cavities and detrimental to development. Instead, opt for water, especially before bedtime.
As we mentioned, your child should have regular visits to the dentist. You might be questioning when to start these – after the first tooth breaks through? When they are a toddler? The answer is to start the first visit when your baby is one year old and then every six months after. Children should visit twice a year to prevent tooth decay and cavities. The dentist can remove plaque that is hard to reach and monitor any developments.
Even before teeth start breaking through, you can start good oral health care by wiping your baby’s gums twice a day with a soft, damp cloth. When the first tooth appears, you can use a soft-bristle toothbrush to begin the daily brushing routine. For optimal health, you will need to avoid leaving your baby with a milk or juice-filled bottle at bedtime. Instead, swap it out for water.
Starting at age three, encourage your toddler to brush their own teeth (supervised) for two minutes twice a day. Use a small amount of non-fluoride toothpaste that should be spat out and not swallowed. Teaching them this skill also requires checking if all teeth have been brushed. Once your child learns to brush without swallowing toothpaste, you can switch them to a fluoridated toothpaste.
Another thing to watch out for is thumb sucking. This habit can impact the development and alignment of permanent teeth and you should consult a dentist if this occurs regularly.
At Valley Ridge, we understand the importance of developing proper dental care routines at an early stage. It can impact your child for the rest of their lives! Regular visits and a daily routine can prevent tooth decay and cavities.
Contact Valley Ridge Dental Centre at 403-202-2266 to see how we can help you. We can provide dental services to the whole family and create perfect smiles all around!