How often should my child brush their teeth?
Before they are three, brush twice a day with tap water only. This gets them into a good oral hygiene routine.
Children should start using fluoride toothpaste when they turn three. Brushing should be done first thing in the morning and at bedtime – after the final snack.
Make sure your child uses only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. If your child doesn’t like the “tingly taste” of the toothpaste you’re using, keep searching until you find the taste they like.
Make brushing a family affair.
Young children have not yet developed good co-ordination so your help with brushing is important. Brush along the gum line and the chewing surfaces using a small circular motion.
Most children tend to miss the cheek surfaces of the upper back teeth and the tongue surfaces of the lower back teeth. Teach your child to brush their tongue too.
Should I be flossing my child’s teeth?
We recommend flossing for a child who continues to get decay in between their teeth even after preventative measures have not worked. If there are spaces in between your child’s teeth, there is no need to floss.
Flossing becomes increasingly important in preventing decay, gingivitis, periodontal infections and breath problems in adolescence and adulthood.
My six-year-old’s baby teeth are still present. Should I be concerned?
Most children start to get their adult teeth at about six years of age. However, some children don’t get their first adult tooth until after they are seven.
When your child gets their new teeth, it’s important that we determine with x-rays all the other adult teeth are growing in the jaw.
Bring them in so we can also look for bite problems, and ensure all teeth are clean and healthy.
When do adult teeth appear?
By six years of age, most children will start losing their baby teeth and their adult teeth start appearing. Some children start losing their baby teeth early (i.e. 4-5) and some later (i.e. 7-8 years). Usually, we see the lower front incisor or the molar teeth first. However, the adult molars may appear first.
Do you recommend sealants for adult molars?
Most children get decay on the pits and fissures of their new adult molars. However, some children do not need sealants because their pits and fissures are shallow and easily cleaned.
What can I do about my 10-year-old who is living on snack food?
Be aware that tooth decay is related to eating foods rich in sugar and cooked starches too often, especially foods that stay in the mouth longer, because they are soft and sticky.
Cavities can begin between the teeth before you can see them. Rinsing with or drinking tap water after these snacks would be helpful.
Encourage your child to drink tap water frequently.
Why are there white, brown or yellow spots on the new front teeth?
Most stains are on the tooth surface and are caused by the build-up of plaque, usually from lack of good brushing. Try brushing with adult toothpaste. If this doesn’t work, your dentist should be able to remove the stain if it is on the tooth surface.
Some discoloration is caused by disturbances that happen during tooth growth and cause stains in the enamel (hard outer covering) or the dentine (hard tissue under the enamel). Stains can also be caused by excess fluoride.
In cases of childhood malnutrition, chronic illness, long term use of some medications or radiation therapy, tooth spots can result and the teeth will appear malformed (i.e. chipped or broken).
By asking questions about your child’s health history and looking at the teeth, we may be able to identify the cause and suggest options to improve their appearance.
My six-year-old’s teeth are crowded. Should I be concerned?
If you see crowding, you should bring your child in to see us for a consultation.
Crowding is not uncommon. Because adult teeth are larger than baby teeth, jaw size and growth may not provide enough space.
Not all children who experience crowding will have dental issues as they become adults.
However, if you still see crowding by 8-9 years, when all of the four upper and four lower adult incisor teeth have erupted, the crowding will probably not improve
Adults with crowded teeth have more problems (tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, TMJ problems) than adults with good jaw and tooth alignment.