Keep your baby's teeth healthy
Begin dental care early with good prenatal dental health. Here are some tips to keep your baby's teeth healthy.
When should I start to care for my baby’s teeth?
Daily oral care should start before your baby has teeth. Wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, wet baby facecloth once a day will make it easier for you and your baby once teeth come through. Baby teeth can last until the teens and are very important for:
When should I expect my baby to get his/her first tooth?
Children have their own schedule for teething. Most children begin teething between six to 10 months of age. All 20 ‘baby’ teeth will be in place by three years of age. Offer your child a clean, chilled teething ring, teething toy, or clean wet facecloth to chew on to ease teething discomfort. Teething cookies and biscuits are not recommended. Only use teething ointments, gels, or tablets on the advice of a doctor or dentist.
How can tooth decay be prevented?
Healthy habits lead to good dental health. Follow these tips to protect your child’s baby teeth:
Brush your child’s teeth twice a day, morning and bedtime, with a fluoride toothpaste.
Help your child brush and floss until they are able to write, not print, their own name.
When the teeth are touching and brushing is well established, floss once daily.
Never let your baby sleep with a bottle that contains anything but plain water.
Use a rice-size amount of fluoride toothpaste on a small, soft toothbrush for children up to three years of age. Increase to a pea-size amount for three years of age and older.
Use a regular cup at 12 months of age. Introduce at six to nine months.
Limit milk and 100% unsweetened juice to meals and scheduled snacks.
Offer only water for thirst between meals.
Where do I look for tooth decay?
As soon as teeth appear, look in your child’s mouth once a month. Lift the top lip and check for white spots, early signs of decay along the gumline, or brown areas on the teeth. Consult with your dentist if you suspect a problem.
When should I take my child to the dentist?
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that your child’s first dental visit should be six months after the first tooth comes through, which is usually by one year of age. If you notice something with your child’s mouth or teeth that concerns you, consult your dentist no matter when they last saw the dentist. Families who are on premium assistance for their Care Card may qualify for the Healthy Kids Program. It provides financial assistance for dental treatment and eyeglasses.
What services are available?
Dental Resource Kit for Young Children is available to all licensed daycares/preschools/kindergartens targeted for children 3-5 years of age. It contains story book, videos, activities, and parent take-homes.
Lift the Lip/Fluoride Varnish Program for children 12-47 months of age. This free program provides preventive education and fluoride varnish applications for children within this age that meet the eligibility requirements.
Find a dental health program in a health centre near you.