FAQs About Children's Dental Care

We've complied this list Smile Town Langley's most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about children's dental health and oral hygiene, for your convenience.


General Questions

Should babies go to the dentist?

Once the first baby teeth erupt, your baby will need dental care. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist within 6 months of the first tooth erupting, or by they time they are one year old. > Learn More

Why are baby (primary) teeth important?

Primary teeth are important for several reasons. First, they allow your child to properly consume and digest all the nutrients he or she needs to be healthy. They also act as a guide for emerging adult (permanent) teeth. > Learn More

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is a result of plaque build up causing the enamel and dentin of the teeth to erode or break down. This is usually caused by a diet high in sugars and acidic foods, in combination with poor oral hygiene. > Learn More

What causes plaque to develop?

When the bacteria in the mouth consume sugar, they convert it into acid plaque. The acid plaque then eats away at the enamel and dentin of the teeth, causing tooth decay. > Learn More

What is gum disease?

When food debris and bacteria build up on the teeth, they form plaque. When the plaque hardens, it forms tartar, all while even more plaque forms. The tartar and plaque eventually infect the gums, causing them to become sore, red, and swollen. This is gum disease. > Learn More

How do I know if my child has tooth decay or gum disease?

The first signs of tooth decay and gum disease are not necessarily obvious. Though you can keep an eye out for symptoms like bleeding gums, soreness, pain, swelling, and redness, these are usually signs that the gum disease has been developing for a while. The best way to detect tooth decay or gum disease before it becomes a problem is by making regular appointments with a dentist. The dentist will be able to detect gum disease and tooth decay in ways that you are unable to at home. > Learn More

Should I be concerned if my child's new adult teeth are yellow?

You shouldn't. Permanent teeth are often more yellow in appearance than baby teeth, when they first grow in. This is a sign that the dentin in your child's teeth is developing as it should be. > Learn More

What is fluoride? Is it dangerous?

Fluoride is simply a mineral that occurs naturally in soil, water, and certain foods. It has a positive effect on children's oral health because it strengthens their developing teeth, and makes them more resistant to tooth decay. It can even reverse decay. When used as directed, fluoride is perfectly safe, but it can be hazardous in high doses. > Learn More

What are dental sealants, and what are they used for?

Dental sealants are applied to the teeth in order to fill in their grooves and recesses. This creates a smooth surface that is easier to clean. > Learn More

Practicalities

When should children have their first dental check up?

The consensus among dental professionals is that children should their first dental appointment within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth, by the time they turn 1 year old. Staring prevention and treatment early will give your child a good head start when it comes to life-long oral health.

How frequently should children visit the dentist?

Children should visit the dentist at least every 6 months for check ups and cleanings.

When should I start brushing my child's teeth at home?

You can begin brushing your child's teeth once the first teeth start to erupt. At first, use a soft, child-sized tooth brush and either water or a tiny dab of tooth paste. Before the teeth start erupting, you can clean your baby's gums after meals with water and a soft cloth.

When should children start using toothpaste?

You can begin to introduce toothpaste into his or her oral care routine when your child is around 2.5 - 3 years old. Transition from water slowly, and only use a pea-sized dab of toothpaste to start with.

What sort of toothpaste should my child use?

If your toothpaste is approved by the Canadian Dental Association, contains fluoride, and doesn't contain whitening agents, it is perfectly safe for children to use. Most pharmacies sell kid-friendly toothpastes that come in flavours that may be a little less jarring than regular toothpaste! These perfect for children who are just starting out with toothpaste.

How often should my child brush?

Just like adults, kids should brush their teeth a minimum of twice a day. Ideally, brushing should take place after each meal, first thing in the morning, and right before bed.

What should I do if my child's gums bleed during brushing or flossing?

When children first start flossing, It's not unusual for children's gums to bleed. The gums may bleed because they are not yet used to flossing, but this will sort itself out over time. Make sure that you (or your child) flosses very gently, and use soft, flexible floss. If the bleeding goes on for more than a couple of weeks after your child starts flossing, however, make a dental appointment; it may be a sign that a problem, such as gum disease, is developing.

What should I do in case of a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies are pretty rare, but they do sometimes happen.

Seek medical help if your child has

  • A toothache that continues after the area has been cleaned and rinsed with warm water
  • A bitten or cut tongue, cheek, or lip. If applying ice doesn't reduce swelling within two hours, and/or if applying gauze doesn't stop the bleeding, bring your child to the doctor or emergency room.
  • A broken tooth. If you can find the tooth, pick it up carefully by the top (not by the root) and try to put it back in the socket. If you can't do this, put the tooth in cold milk. Whether you can replace it in the socket or not, bring your child (and the tooth) to the dentist right away.

> Learn More

How can I help relieve my child's anxiety about dental care?

To start, you can prepare you child for dental appointments with honest talk, engaging books, and a consistent at-home oral hygiene routine. If your child is unable to overcome his or her anxiety by way of these methods, Smile Town Langley offers a variety of safe sedation options.

Does Smile Town Dentistry treat children with special needs?

We certainly do! At Smile Town Dentistry, our team has experience treating kids across a wide spectrum of needs. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, and you're worried about his or her oral health, we can help.

Can't Find The Answer to Your Question?

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