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Proper oral health addresses a child’s whole mouth and begins before he/she even has teeth.
Oral Health Begins Early
Parents are encouraged to start caring for their child’s oral health by using a washcloth to wipe their gums – especially after feeding.
“That just helps keep all of their soft tissue healthy so there’s no food in there for the bacteria to live and grow on,” says Dr. Catherine Strasser
As soon as a child gets their first tooth, it’s time to start brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush. A baby’s first toothbrush is usually either a finger cot toothbrush or the brush that looks like a banana.
“These (finger cot toothbrushes) are easy to use. You just put them on a finger and you can start brushing,” says Dr. Strasser.
As Children Get Older
As children get older, they will advance to different brushes. Check the packaging to see what’s recommended for your child. Dr. Strasser recommends brushing for two minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
Fluoride is such a controversial topic, however, the benefits outweigh the risk if it’s used properly. Ensure the amount of fluoride-based toothpaste used is a small amount, between rice size and pea size, and that the child does their best to rinse it out.
“Fluoride really helps prevent cavities. What fluoride does is it actually strengthens the enamel,” says Dr. Strasser.
Some counties have fluoride in the water, but if you live in an area where fluoride is NOT in the water, talk to your pediatrician about fluoride supplementation.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that we start applying fluoride varnish at six months of age for children who are high risk for cavity development,” says Dr. Strasser.
Fluoride varnish can be applied every three months until the child is five years old. It’s quick, fast, and can be done in a pediatrician’s office.
The First Dental Visit
Remember to pay a visit to the dentist before your child’s first birthday.
The new recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is to bring your child around one for their first dental visit. The purpose is to give dentists an earlier first look and teach parents good cleaning habits early on. Early oral health matters: by the age of 3, bad habits can already be ingrained by parents and children.
And as some baby teeth can last up until the age of 13, it’s important not to neglect health even though such teeth will eventually fall out.
Children should begin flossing as soon as their teeth begin to touch. This is around the age of two and is when most children have all 20 of their “baby” teeth.
Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!
Located in the heart of North Vancouver, BC, Family Care Dental Clinic is a group of passionate dentists and dental experts who are committed to providing patients with exceptional dental care in a modern and relaxing environment. We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family. Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent tea