In honour of February being Children’s Dental Health Month, let’s take a look at how we can help our children have healthier mouths. After all, the children are our future and by teaching them young, we can set them up for a lifetime of success.
According to articles by the Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centres, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Canadian Public Health Association, tooth decay is the most common disease in children under 6 years old. That means that a large number of young children are having dental work done before starting Kindergarten! There are ways to help lower this number and reduce the chances of your child needing fillings.
You as the parent play a large role in helping your child attain a healthy mouth. You are the role model, the teacher, the leader. By modeling good oral hygiene yourself, you are showing your child that it is important for them to do so as well. By making sure your mouth is healthy, you reduce the risk of transferring the cavity-causing bacteria to your child. Make sure you take care of yourself by visiting your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings, having any work needed taken care of as soon as possible and ensuring to brush and floss daily at home.
You are also the one teaching your child that oral hygiene is part of their routine. Make sure to help them brush and floss until they are old enough to do a good job themselves. When they are young, you will need to be brushing and flossing their teeth for them. We usually recommend that you let them start and then you finish for them. Only you can be sure that all of the teeth are being taken care of. As they get older, you can delegate more of the responsibility to them and take on more of a supervisory role. Most kids need help until they are 8-10 years old as they need time to develop the dexterity to reach all the areas of their mouth and the focus needed to spend the time doing a good job. These habits they learn at home with you will set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.
At The Dental Office
You as the parent are also the ones who will be scheduling your child for their dental visits. We follow the recommendations by the Canadian Dental Association that children should see a dentist by the age of 1. This allows us to talk to parents and caregivers about how to properly care for their child’s new teeth as well as diagnose any dental problems early. It also gives your child a chance to start to get comfortable in the dental office as there are many new things here for them to learn about. We want to create a dental home for your child so that if he or she needs dental care, he or she is comfortable with us.
We recommend that all children have a dental exam and cleaning every 6 months following their first birthday and x-rays as needed.
As for their time in the dental office, you can trust us to try to make their appointment as fun and easy as possible. We will walk your child through what we are going to be doing so that they feel comfortable with us. We will show them our tools and explain each step so that they understand what we are doing. We will show them tips on how to brush and floss better and can answer any of your questions about how to help them at home. Our friendly assistants will clean their teeth and Dr. Robyn will do their exam to “count their teeth” and make sure they are healthy. If any cavities or other dental problems are found, we will discuss those with you and review the treatment options and recommendations with you.
We are a family friendly dental office so we encourage parents and siblings to come along for exam appointments as it can help everyone to improve their oral health. Younger siblings often do better if they can watch their older sibling have their exam and cleaning first. We all know they always want to be like their big brother or sister, so bring the younger ones along to watch and learn!
We are always welcoming patients of all ages, so book your family for their appointments today!