Dental Health
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​Start healthy habits early



Healthy habits lead to good dental health.

What snacks should I give my child?

Healthy snacking is important for the healthy development and growth of your child. Your child’s teeth can benefit from making choices that reduce the risk for tooth decay:

  • Offer 2-3 snacks/day only between meals.
  • Vary the daily snack choices with foods such as vegetables, fruits and dairy products.
  • Limit milk and juice (100% unsweetened) to regularly scheduled meal and snack times.
  • Offer water only (not juice/milk/pop/flavored drinks sport drinks) for thirst between meals.

What can I do to prevent injury to my child’s teeth?

Protecting  teeth is important for all ages. Wearing a bike helmet and using a car safety belt protects the body, inclusive of the mouth and teeth. Mouthguards help prevent costly injuries if your child is active in contact sports. A mouthguard made by your family dentist gives the best protection and comfort. Pre-formed mouthguards sold in sporting good stores are another alternative. Despite our best efforts, accidents can happen. Call a dentist immediately if a tooth is chipped, broken, or knocked out. Broken teeth can almost always be saved if put back into place within 10-30 minutes

Are there any concerns about my teenagers oral health if smoking?

Yes, the use of tobacco products can affect the health of the mouth, teeth and gums.

  • Smoking can increase gum disease, teeth staining, and bad breath.
  • Sense of smell and taste is lessened.
  • Spit tobacco and smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancers of the lips, cheeks, tongue, throat, voice box and esophagus.
  • Oral cancer risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked each day and the number of years as a smoker.

My teenager wants to get a tongue or lip ring. Are there any dangers I should be aware of?

Yes, oral hygiene is very important while the piercing site is healing. The mouth is naturally filled with bacteria and the oral environment is moist so infection can set in if the site is not cared for. It is important to ensure that the piercer uses sterile techniques to limit infection. The dangers to piercing include excessive swelling of the tongue that can interfere with swallowing and the ability to eat as well as a risk of nerve damage to the tongue/lip that could cause permanent numbness and/or loss of taste. Depending on the location, the jewellry can chip/crack teeth, interfere with speech, cause shrinkage of the gums, and  increase sensitivity to hot/cold.

See a dentist or doctor if there are any signs of prolonged healing (10-14 days). 

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As a step towards reconciliation, Interior Health acknowledges the land that we live, work, and play on as the traditional territories of the Dakelh Dene, Ktunaxa, Nlaka’pamux, Secwepemc, St’at’imc, Syilx and Tsilhqot’in peoples. It is with humility that we continue to strengthen our relationships with the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples of the interior.
MoH     PCQO