Ensuring your child’s oral health goes beyond just a smile—it’s crucial for their overall well-being and development. That’s where children’s dentistry comes in. It’s about more than just teeth; it’s about nurturing healthy habits from an early age. Poor oral health can lead to various issues, from discomfort to more severe complications like diabetes and heart disease.

That’s why taking good care of your child’s teeth and gums is essential from an early age. But how do you do that? In this article, we’ll provide practical advice and tips for caring for your child’s teeth. Following these tips, you’ll help your child achieve a healthy, happy, and confident smile that will last a lifetime.

How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth at Home

Dental care at Vedder Dental Clinic in Chilliwack

One of the most important things you can do for your child’s oral health is to establish a good oral hygiene routine at home. This includes:

Brushing and flossing: You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. You should brush your child’s teeth twice daily, for at least two minutes each time. Floss your child’s teeth once a day, to remove any plaque and food particles that may be stuck between the teeth.

Diet and Nutrition at Vedder Dental Clinic in ChilliwackDiet and nutrition: What your child eats and drinks can significantly affect their oral health. Limit your child’s intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks, such as candy, chocolate, soda, juice, and sports drinks. These can erode the enamel of the teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities. Encourage your child to eat healthy snacks, such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, and nuts. Drink plenty of water, as they can help neutralize the acids in the mouth and wash away any food debris.

Making oral hygiene fun: Oral hygiene doesn’t have to be tedious for your child. You can make it fun by using colourful toothbrushes, playing music, or rewarding good behaviour. You can also involve your child in choosing oral care products, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss. Furthermore, you can also read books, watch videos, or play games that teach your child about the importance of oral hygiene and the consequences of neglecting it.

When and Why to Visit a Dentist

Vedder Dental Clinic in Chilliwack

Another key factor for your child’s oral health is to visit a dentist regularly. They have specialized training and experience in addressing the unique needs and challenges of young patients, including growth and development, behavior management, and special healthcare needs.

A dentist can offer a range of services and treatments for your child, such as:

Regular check-ups and cleanings: You should take your child to see a dentist for their first dental visit by their first birthday, or within six months of their first tooth eruption, whichever comes first. After that, you should take your child to see a dentist every six months, or as recommended. During these visits, the dentist will examine your child’s teeth and gums, perform a professional cleaning, apply sealants if needed, and take x-rays if necessary. The dentist will also educate and motivate your child to care for their teeth and gums and provide you with any guidance or recommendations for your child’s oral health.

Sealants: Sealants are thin, plastic coatings, applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where most cavities occur. Sealants act as a barrier against plaque and bacteria and prevent tooth decay and cavities. Sealants are typically applied to the permanent molars, that erupt around the age of six and 12. It can also be applied to the baby teeth if they have deep grooves or pits. Sealants are painless and easy to apply, and can last for several years with proper care.

Fillings: Fillings restore teeth that are damaged by tooth decay or cavities. They are made of different materials, such as amalgam, composite, or glass ionomer. It can help restore the function and appearance of the teeth, preventing further decay and infection. Fillings are typically done under local anesthesia and can be completed in one visit.

Crowns: Crowns are caps that cover the entire visible part of the tooth. Crowns help protect teeth that are severely damaged by tooth decay, cavities, trauma, or that have undergone root canal treatment. It can be made of different materials, such as stainless steel, porcelain, or zirconia. It can also help restore the strength and appearance of the teeth, preventing further damage and infection. Crowns are typically done in two visits, one to prepare the tooth and take impressions, and another to place the crown.

Braces at Vedder Dental Clinic in Chilliwack

Braces: Braces are devices used to correct the alignment and bite of the teeth. Braces are made of metal, ceramic, or plastic, and can be fixed or removable. Braces can help improve the appearance and function of the teeth, and prevent problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, jaw pain, and speech difficulties. Braces are typically worn for one to three years, depending on the severity of the case. It requires regular adjustments and visits to the dentist.

Visiting a dentist is important for your child’s oral health. It can help prevent and detect any oral problems, teaching and motivating your child to care for their teeth and gums. However, we understand that some children may feel anxious or fearful about going to the dentist. That’s why we at Vedder Dental Clinic strive to make every visit a positive and stress-free experience for your child.

We have a friendly and compassionate team of professionals, trained and experienced in working with children of all ages and backgrounds. Our office is comfortable and inviting, equipped with the latest technology and amenities. We also offer sedation options, such as nitrous oxide, oral sedation, or general anesthesia, to help your child relax and feel comfortable during treatment.

Common Concerns and Questions About Children’s Dentistry

As a parent, you may have concerns or questions about your child’s oral health, and that’s perfectly normal. Here are some of the most common ones, and our answers to them:

Your child’s teeth will start to erupt around the age of six months, and will continue to do so until they have 20 baby teeth by the age of three. The order and timing of tooth eruption may vary from child to child, but generally, the lower front teeth come in first, followed by the upper front teeth, then the back teeth. Signs of teething may include drooling, irritability, fussiness, biting, chewing, gum swelling, redness, or tenderness, and sometimes fever, diarrhea, or rash. Help your child cope with teething by giving them a cold, wet cloth, a teething ring, or a frozen fruit or vegetable to chew on, and by gently massaging their gums with a clean finger or a soft toothbrush. You can also give them some pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed by your doctor or dentist. Avoid giving your child any teething gels, tablets, or liquids, as they may contain harmful ingredients or cause side effects.

If your child has a toothache, first rinse their mouth with warm water, then apply a cold compress to the affected area. You can also give them some pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed by your doctor or dentist. Avoid putting any heat, aspirin, or topical painkillers on the tooth or gum, as they may cause more damage or irritation. You should also contact your dentist as soon as possible, as a toothache may indicate a serious problem, such as an infection or an abscess.

If your child has a loose tooth, you should let it fall out naturally, and avoid pulling or twisting it. You should also keep the area clean and avoid any hard or sticky foods that may cause pain or bleeding. You can also give your child some pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed by your doctor or dentist. You should also contact your dentist if the tooth does not fall out within a few weeks, or if there is any sign of infection or inflammation.

If your child has a knocked-out tooth, you should act quickly and try to save the tooth. Pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root, and rinse it gently with water. You should not scrub, touch, or dry the tooth, or put it in any liquid other than water or milk. Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket, and have your child bite down on a gauze or a clean cloth to hold it in place.

Then take your child to the dentist immediately, as the tooth has a better chance of survival if reattached within an hour. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, store it in a container of water or milk, and bring it to the dentist. You should also give your child some pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed by your doctor or dentist.

Thumb-sucking, pacifier use, or bottle-feeding are common habits among young children, as they provide comfort and security. However, if these habits persist beyond the age of four, they may affect the development and alignment of the teeth and jaws, and cause problems such as overbite, cross bite, or open bite. You can help your child stop these habits by:

  • Praising and rewarding your child when they do not suck their thumb, use a pacifier, or drink from a bottle.
  • Provide your child with alternative ways to handle stress, such as cuddling, reading, or playing.
  • Limit or eliminate the use of pacifiers or bottles, especially at bedtime or nap time.
  • Applying a bitter-tasting substance, such as vinegar or lemon juice, to your child’s thumb, pacifier, or bottle, to discourage them from sucking.
  • Consult your dentist or pediatrician for advice or devices that can help your child quit these habits.

Sports and play are great ways for your child to stay active and healthy, but they also pose a risk of dental injuries, such as chipped, cracked, or knocked-out teeth. You can protect your child’s teeth from injuries by:

  • Ensure your child wears a mouth guard when playing contact sports, such as hockey, football, or soccer, or when engaging in activities that may involve falls, collisions, or flying objects, such as skating, biking, or baseball.
  • Choosing a mouth guard that fits your child’s mouth well, and that is comfortable, durable, and easy to clean. You can buy a ready-made mouth guard from a sports store, or get a custom-made one from your dentist.
  • Replace your child’s mouth guard regularly, especially if worn, damaged, or outgrown.

Teaching your child to avoid biting or chewing on hard objects, such as ice, pencils, or popcorn kernels, as they may fracture or chip the teeth.

Your dedication to your child’s oral health is invaluable. Implementing the tips and advice outlined in this article, will empower your child to enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. Should you have any questions or require dental assistance, our team at Vedder Dental Clinic is here to support you every step of the way. Let’s embark on this journey together towards optimal dental health and happiness for your child!

For appointments or inquiries, contact Vedder Dental at (604) 858-4441 or visit www.vedderdental.ca. We eagerly await the opportunity to serve you and your child in our family-friendly practice.