Health

Caring for your child’s teeth

A study by the Montreal-Center Public Health Department and Université de Montréal shows that 42% of children who enter kindergarten have cavities on their temporary baby teeth.

But when is the perfect time to take your child to the dentist? Some advise to go before the age of one, others recommend to wait until the age of 2-3 years old. You must also consider your child’s comfort with the dentist. If your baby starts to scream as soon as they see the dentist, the doctor, or anyone else, it becomes a traumatic experience for everyone that no one wants to repeat. So, to delay your child’s first dentist appointment and wait until they grow a little, make sure to take good care of their teeth at home.

Wait a little, but not too long ... A friend of mine waited until her daughter was three years old to take her to the dentist's office: the little girl had a fear of doctors and nurses, so her mother was reluctant to bring her to the dentist. The good news is that it went very well between the dentist and the child ... The bad, the child had 10 cavities!

Teeth care for Baby

Even before their first teeth appear, baby's mouth and gums should be cleaned with a soft washcloth, after each meal or feeding.

It is when the first tooth appears that you start using a soft toothbrush designed for toddlers. An adult should not only supervise brushing until the age of 4 but even do it themselves to make sure the child gets everywhere. To make it comfortable for everyone, it is recommended to sit on the floor with the child's head on their knees. With the mouth open, mom and dad will clearly see the small teeth that need to be brushed. You can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste if desired.

There are 20 baby teeth. They normally burst, starting with the central incisors (lower middle teeth), at the age of 6 to 10 months, and ending with the molars, shortly after the age of 2 years. The loss of these teeth occurs between the ages of 6 and 12 years.

Look for signs of early decay by lifting the baby's lips. White, chalky teeth are the signal of a mild case; teeth stained with brown or black indicate a more serious case that requires immediate care.

Children who experience early decay tend to remain at high risk when they have permanent teeth.

Upper teeth

Central Incisor 8 to 12 months 6 to 7 years old
Lateral Incisor 9 to 13 months 7 to 8 years old
Canine 16 to 22 months 10 to 12 years old
First Molar 13 to 19 months 9 to 11 years old
Second Molar 25 to 33 months 10 to 12 years old

Lower Teeth

Central Incisor 6 to 10 months 6 to 7 years old
Lateral Incisor 10 to 16 months 7 to 8 years old
Canine 17 to 23 months 9 to 12 years old
First Molar 14 to 18 months 9 to 11 years old
Second Molar 23 to 31 months 10 to 12 years old
Baby bottle tooth decay

Young children, like the little girl we were talking about earlier, are particularly sensitive to so-called baby bottle tooth decay: cavities that are caused by the prolonged presence of liquids in the baby’s mouth, like when they fall asleep with the bottle in their mouths. It may look cute but it could be harmful. Only thorough maintenance of the mouth and regular visits to the dentist can prevent cavities in your child’s mouth.

Your decision to breastfeed or not, and for how long, is a very personal decision. While experts agree that breastfeeding is very beneficial to your baby's health, studies have shown that breastfeeding, in the long run, can be associated with increased acid production and an increased risk of early teeth decay. As a general guideline to minimize this risk, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that babies be weaned from the bottle or breast by the age of 12 months, and taught to use the cup.

Pacifier

If your baby uses a pacifier, check the packaging and shape to make sure it is orthodontic. The best are those that have a nipple shape and that keep the baby's lips closed, which encourages natural nasal breathing. Never soak the pacifier in something sweet. Honey is one of the most damaging foods for your baby’s teeth.

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