Interestingly, children’s teeth tend to decay at a faster rate than adult teeth. So it is important for children to visit the dentist regularly to keep an eye on their teeth and catch anything early. Sometimes the dentist can see areas that may potentially turn into a cavity, and sometimes with extra attention cleaning and fluoride, the cavity can be prevented from forming.
How important are these ‘baby teeth’, since they are not permanent?
Yes, those teeth will eventually fall out naturally, but they serve an important purpose by guiding in the adult teeth and serving as placeholders to maintain the tooth spacing in the mouth.
Encouraging proper care of baby teeth from a young age will result in well-formed habits for care of adult teeth.
Also, tooth decay is a top reason for general anesthetic use in children, which any parent would prefer to avoid if possible due the risks, expense and discomfort for the child.
What about chewing gum?
For children who are old enough, sugarless gum is not a bad thing for teeth. The saliva creation caused by gum can remove food particles and create a less acidic environment for teeth.
There are some very attractive electric toothbrushes on the market now for children, and for a very reasonable cost at many drug stores and large grocery stores. There is a great allure for children for these toothbrushes, since they have recognizable and fun characters on them, bright colors, a button to push (!) and of course a whizzing brush.
This is all good news as electric toothbrushes have been found to remove more plaque over the short and long term than manual brushing.
When to brush?
You may have heard the term ‘don’t rush to brush’. Basically, if you’ve eaten or drank something acidic like fruit or juice, then as a result, the enamel of the teeth may be softened for an hour or more. In this case, it is better to brush the teeth beforehand (think breakfast) or wait a while before brushing. There’s always fluoride mouthwash that can be used as an alternative at such a time.
How necessary is flossing?
Trying to floss the teeth of a small child or get an older child to do it themselves (even adults!) can require vast amounts of tenacity. That being said, flossing removes the plaque and food particles between the teeth of course, which said plaque removal in turn can prevent gum disease. Therefore, it is well worth it to try to get kids into the automatic habit of flossing, as much as is possible.
Flouride rinse and tablets?
As mentioned, fluoride rinse or tablets can be used at times where they’ve had something acidic to eat or drink but you’d like them to clean their teeth. Other times between bushings can be effective also. And, of course, the routine of floss, brush, fluoride can really clean all teeth surfaces and bathe them in fluoride. Sometimes children can be persuaded to keep the fluoride rinse in their mouth for a bit longer amount of time than they would brushing. Something about the measuring, pouring and swishing of the rinse can be more interesting than brushing. So, fluoride rinse or tablets can be another useful tool in you arsenal in your quest for a healthy, cavity free smile for your child.
Kits FAMILY Dental in Kitsilano
We’re not called Kits FAMILY Dental for no reason. 😉 We specialize in serving clients of all ages, including everyone in the family from the babies on up. In fact a main focus of our office is on children. We are practiced and patient in treating our young patients, and in explaining fully to their parents all the options, pros and cons of any suggested treatment. As always, the suggested treatment path is just that suggested, and parents make the final call of what is done or not. Of course we help you to understand the benefits and risks of any course of action, including no action!
What about freezing for children?
The following paragraph is on the Children’s FAQ’s page on our site, but we thought it would be good to include it here to inform parents of how on earth this process can be made tolerable for children. Hint, distraction and even singing can play a big part. Read on:
Each child reacts differently to dental visits and procedures. Some children scream when we try to polish their teeth, while others don’t even flinch while we are giving the injection. At Kits Family Dental, we always prepare the child well before beginning the procedure by using appropriate, positive, non-scary terminology (“We are going to give you some sleepy juice,” instead of “We are going to give you a shot”). We are not being deceptive, but rather explaining things in neutral terms that they can understand. We also always use topical anesthetic to numb the tissue before the actual injection, we keep the needle away from the child’s view, and we talk and even sing for the duration of the injection, so that the child knows exactly how long it will take, and we use positive words to describe the different sensations that they will be feeling.
Come visit us!
Book a dental appointment for yourself or your child with Kits Family Dental. Our dental office on West Broadway in Vancouver, BC. has a parking lot underground ($1/hour) as well as metered and free street parking spots. Our dentist office is open at least one Saturday per month (except June, July, August, no Saturdays). We also have early morning and evening slots.