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Parents want what’s best for their kids’ dental health, and dentists can help. Ensuring good dental care for children is crucial for their overall health and many people don’t realize how much kids’ oral care impacts the future of their health into adulthood. In this article you’ll find some common questions about kids’ dental care and dental care safety for kids, answered by the professional pediatric dental care team at NEESH Dental, plus our top 5 recommendations for the best oral health outcomes for your child. 

 

5 commonly asked questions about kids dental care

  1. When is the best time to bring my child to the dentist?

The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends that a child’s first dental visit should occur within six months of the eruption of their first tooth or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. We say, the sooner the better! 

 

  1. How can I prepare my child for their first dental visit?

Talk to your child positively about the dentist, read books or watch videos about dental visits, and avoid using negative words that may create anxiety or fear. Make the experience seem routine and positive.


  1. How can I prevent cavities in my child’s teeth?

Limit sugary snacks and drinks, encourage a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and promote regular brushing and flossing. Regular dental check-ups also play a crucial role in cavity prevention.

 

  1. When should I start flossing my child’s teeth?
    Introduce flossing to your child’s oral care routine as soon as the teeth start to touch each other. 

 

  1. When should my child start orthodontic treatment?
    Orthodontic evaluations often begin around the age of 7 after most of their adult teeth have come in. 

 

Our recommendations for the best oral health outcomes for your child

1. Bring your child for dental checkups and cleanings every six months

However, the frequency may vary based on your child’s individual needs and the dentist’s recommendations.

 

  1. Help your child brush their teeth twice per day

For kids under 3, use a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth for them, until they learn how to brush by themselves. Even after they first start brushing on their own, it’s a good idea to go in after them to ensure all teeth get properly brushed. They get a turn, and you get a turn! 

 

  1. Support your child to transition away from thumb-sucking and pacifiers

Encourage the cessation of thumb-sucking and pacifier use as a child grows older to prevent potential issues with tooth alignment which can increase the need for orthodontics later. If your child relies heavily on a pacifier for comfort, this may be difficult, so the sooner you can introduce other methods of soothing and comfort for them in times of stress, the better. 

 

  1. Promote a balanced diet for your little one 

Offer your child fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins before carbohydrates and sugary snacks and drinks. Even granola bars marketed as “for children” are often loaded with sugars and starches that are hard on their little teeth. If you let your child snack too often between meals, they may learn to rely on the sweet snacks they prefer and opt out of meal times knowing they’ll have a chance to fill up on something yummier later. If they are hungry, they will eat what is being served on the dinner table—and make sure it’s full of protein and veggies! To learn more about this, read Nutrition And Oral Health: 4-tips to eating for good teeth

 

  1. Provide your child with early oral health education

Educate your young ones about the importance of oral health in a positive and age-appropriate manner. See our list of books and music below for ideas! Instill good habits early for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

 


Questions about dental care safety for kids

  • Can children use over-the-counter teething gels or medications?

It’s important to consult with a pediatric dentist or healthcare professional before using any teething gels or medications. Some products may contain ingredients that could be harmful to gum tissue and tooth development. A professional can provide guidance on safe and effective options.

  • Are dental X-rays safe for children?

Yes, dental X-rays are generally safe for children and are important in detecting cavities and other dental issues that may not be visible during a regular examination. Dentists use lead aprons and thyroid collars to protect the child from any unnecessary exposure. 

  • Is fluoride toothpaste safe for my child? 

Yes in fact it is recommended, provided that they don’t swallow it. Fluoride applied topically at appropriate concentrations helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. Many toothpaste and water supplies contain fluoride, but it’s important not to exceed recommended levels. Because many kids’ toothpastes are flavoured to encourage them to brush their teeth, many will associate it with candy and be tempted to want to eat it. Help your child learn that toothpaste is not food, never to be swallowed and keep it out of reach, supervising them while they are using it. 

 

Remember, establishing good oral hygiene habits early in life can contribute to a lifetime of good dental health. Regular dental check-ups, a healthy diet, and proper oral care at home are essential components of kids’ dental care.

 


Books and Music to help you give the best dental health education to your child

 

Books: 

  • “The Tooth Book” by Dr. Seuss:
  • “Brush, Brush, Brush!” by Alicia Padron:
  • “Going to the Dentist” by Anne Civardi:
  • “Dora the Explorer: Show Me Your Smile!” by Christine Ricci
  • “The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist” by Stan and Jan Berenstain

 

Music:

  • “Brush Your Teeth” by Raffi
  • “This Is the Way We Brush Our Teeth” (Traditional Tune)
  • “Tooth Brushing Song” by The Singing Walrus
  • “Sesame Street: Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me” (Album)
  • “I Like to Brush My Teeth” by The Learning Station
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