Tips for Parents
In this section we have provided our answers to the most frequently asked questions about oral hygiene for children. Book an appointment with the dentist when your child’s first tooth erupts or by the time your child turns one year old. Our staff will teach you how to instill good oral hygiene habits to prevent early childhood diseases and ensure the proper growth and development of your child.
- How to Brush: Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to where the gums and teeth meet. GENTLY use small circles to clean every surface of every tooth. For the front teeth, use the “toe” or front part of the brush. Be gentle because you can damage the gums by brushing too hard.
- What Kind of Toothbrush: Make sure you use a soft brush with rounded bristles for young children. It should not be too big for their mouth; a properly sized toothbrush should cover 2-3 teeth at a time. Replace the toothbrush every 3-4 months, after sickness, or when the bristles get worn or bent.
- Use of Fluoridated Toothpaste: Toothpaste should only be used when a child has teeth, and fluoridated toothpaste is not generally recommended until children are at least six years old. According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), the use of fluoridated toothpaste in children younger than six years old is only recommended for those children at a high risk for developing tooth decay (as diagnosed by a dentist). These children should always have their teeth brushed by an adult and only if the child is capable of spitting, because excessive swallowing of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis. Children may begin using fluoridated toothpaste with adult supervision once the child is six years old and capable of spitting on their own.
- Children <3 at high risk for cavities – fluoridated toothpaste, a portion the size of a grain of rice
- Children 3-6 at high risk for cavities – fluoridated toothpaste, a portion the size of a green pea
- When to Start Flossing: Baby teeth are usually spaced well apart, but after the age of six these spaces begin to close as the adult teeth erupt. Once the teeth begin to touch side by side, parents should get their children in the habit of flossing once a day.
- Dental Sealants
- Did you know that the first adult tooth in the mouth is the most likely to get cavities? The first adult tooth erupts around the age of six behind the last baby tooth, and it is shorter than the surrounding teeth until it slowly erupts into position. Because this adult tooth does not initially contact any opposing teeth while chewing, food and debris remains stuck in its pits and grooves causing cavities.
- Some dentists will recommend dental sealants to smoothen the pits and grooves of erupting adult molars and prevent the need for fillings at such a young age. Sealants are usually suggested for children with deeply pitted molars, poor oral hygiene, or close family members with multiple cavities. This preventive treatment uses a white filling resin that is less viscous, allowing the material to flow freely into the grooves of the tooth and then being light cured to create a smooth, easily cleansable surface.
Would you like to be a member of our Cavity Free Kids Club?
If your child is twelve years or younger without any current cavities, he or she qualifies to be a member of our Cavity Free Kids Club! Visit us today for a dental check-up – if your child is doing a good job brushing his or her teeth twice a day, you may leave with a surprise!
Did you know that the Canadian Dental Association and the American Association of Paediatric Dentistry recommends that a child sees a dental within 6 months of getting their first baby tooth or around their first birthday? For more information on paediatric oral health, visit