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FAQs About Children's Dental Care

For answers to our most frequently asked questions about children's dental health and oral hygiene, read through the Smile Town Dentistry Burnaby FAQs.

General Questions

Do babies need to go to the dentist?

As soon the first baby teeth erupt, children need dental care. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth erupting, or by they time they are a year old. > Learn More

Why are primary (baby) teeth important?

Primary teeth are important for a few different reasons. First of all, they make it possible for your child to properly consume and digest all the nutrients they need to be healthy. They also function as a guide for emerging permanent (adult) teeth. > Learn More

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is when plaque build up causes the enamel and dentin of the teeth to erode or break down. This is usually caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene and a diet high in sugars and acidic foods. > Learn More

What causes plaque?

When bacteria in the mouth consumes sugar, they convert it into acid plaque, which then wears away at the enamel and dentin of the teeth, causing tooth decay. > Learn More

What is gum disease?

When bacteria and food debris build up on the teeth, they form a sticky film called plaque. When this plaque hardens, it forms tartar, and even more plaque continues to form. The tartar and plaque infect the gums, causing them to become red, sore and swollen. This condition is called gum disease. > Learn More

How can I tell if my child has tooth decay or gum disease?

The first signs of gum disease and tooth decay are not always apparent. While you can keep an eye out for symptoms like bleeding gums, soreness, pain, swelling, and redness, the best way to detect tooth decay or gum disease is by making regular appointments with a dentist. The dentist will be able to detect gum disease and tooth decay in ways that you can't at home. > Learn More

Should I be worried if my child's new adult teeth look yellow?

Most likely, no. Permanent teeth are sometimes a bit yellow in appearance when they first grow in. This just means that the dentin in your child's teeth is developing as it should. > Learn More

What is fluoride? Is it safe?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water, soil, and even some foods.It has a positive impact on children's oral health because it makes their developing teeth more resistant to tooth decay, and can even reverse it. Fluoride is perfectly safe when used as directed, but can be hazardous in high doses. > Learn More

What are dental sealants and how do they work?

Dental sealants are applied to the grooves and recesses of teeth in order to fill them in, creating a smooth surface that is easier to clean. > Learn More


At what age should children have their first dental check up?

The consensus among dental professionals is that children should visit the dentist for the first time within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth, by the time they turn 1. Prevention and treatment starting this early will give your child a great head start when it comes to life-long oral health.

How often should children visit the dentist?

Children should visit the dentist every 6 months for cleaning and check ups.

When should I start brushing my child's teeth?

You can start brushing your child's teeth as soon as the first teeth start to emerge, with a soft tooth brush and either water or a tiny dab of tooth paste. Before the teeth begin to emerge, you can clean your baby's gums after meals using a soft cloth and water.

When should my child start using toothpaste?

When your child is around 2.5 - 3 years old, you can begin to introduce toothpaste into his or her oral care routine. Transition from water slowly, and only use a tiny dab of toothpaste to start with.

What kind of toothbrush should my child use?

If your toothpaste is approved by the Canadian Dental Association, contains fluoride, and does not contain any whitening agents, then it is perfectly safe for children. Most pharmacies sell kid-friendly tooth paste in flavours that might be a little less jarring than regular toothpaste! These can be great for children who are just starting out with toothpaste.

How often should children brush their teeth?

Children, just like adults, should brush their teeth at least twice a day. Ideally, they should brush their teeth after each meal, first thing in the morning, and right before bed.

What if my child's gums bleed during brushing or flossing?

It's not unusual for children's gums to bleed when they first start flossing. This happens simply because their gums are not yet used to flossing, and it should sort itself out over time. Be sure that you (or your child) flosses gently, and use soft, flexible floss. If the bleeding goes on for more than a week or two after your child first starts flossing, though, make an appointment with your dentist; there may be a problem, such as gum disease, developing.

What should I do in case of a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies and thankfully quite rare, but they do sometimes happen.

Seek medical help if your child has

  • A toothache that remains after the area has been cleaned and rinsed with warm water
  • A cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek. If applying ice doesn't reduce swelling within two hours, or if applying gauze doesn't stop the bleeding, bring your child to the doctor or emergency room.
  • A broken tooth. If you can locate the tooth, pick it up carefully by the top (not the root) and see if you can put it back in the socket. If you can't, put the tooth in cold milk. Whether you can replace it in the socket or not, bring your child to the dentist immediately.

> Learn More

How can I help relieve my child's dental care anxiety?

You can help relieve your child's anxiety about dental care in a vairety of ways. You can start by preparing you child for dental appointments with honest talk, engaging books, and regular at-home oral hygiene. If your child can't overcome his or her anxiety with the help of these methods, we also offer a variety of safe sedation options.

Can Smile Town Dentistry treat children with special needs?

We certainly do! At Smile Town Dentistry, we have experience treating children across a wide spectrum of needs. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, and you're anxious about his or her oral health, we can help.

Can't Find What You Need?

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