Healthy kids have strong healthy teeth

A child's first teeth are important, as speech and the child's appearance are strongly influenced by emerging teeth. Baby teeth provide the foundation for the adult teeth that will replace them one day.

Maintaining healthy teeth forms part of the exploration process for infants as their diet matures and they begin chewing increasingly complex foods. The ability to chew foods well is very important in the digestive process and getting off to the right start helps prevent other problems further down the track.

Dentistry for young people is all about education and prevention. Increase the likelihood of your children having strong cavity free teeth by including the following tips in your child's routine:

  • Even before they have teeth, infants should have their gums cleaned. Use a soft gauze pad or infant washcloth after feedings and before bedtime.
  • Avoid putting your baby to bed with his or her bottle.
  • Brush your children's teeth until they are three years old, then start encouraging them to join in.
  • Children under four should use a simple brushing technique such as a small circular brushing motion.

It is especially important to keep your child enthusiastic and motivated about caring for his or her teeth. So whether you're teaching your children how to brush properly or taking them to the dentist for a check-up, remember it's up to you to set a good example. And don't forget to praise your child afterwards for clean teeth and a healthy smile!

Brushing your teeth together sets a good example and helps your child learn by watching and imitating you. It can also create a consistent and fun environment for tooth brushing.

What is "baby bottle tooth decay"?

If a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing milk (even breast milk), formula or juice, the sugar in the drink and the bacteria in your baby's mouth can interact to form an acid that attacks the enamel in your baby's teeth and may cause tooth decay. Fortunately, this is easy to prevent; if your baby needs a bedtime bottle, fill it with water instead.

When should I first take my baby to the dentist?

Take your baby with you to your hygiene visits or dental exams so that your baby gets use to the environment. Then as they grow older they can be given rides in the chair and slowly introduced to the instruments until they can have a proper exam by the age of about 3 or 4. Diagnosing problems in children at an early age makes treatment easier as minor problems can be identified and treated before they become larger dental concerns.

For more information on caring for your child's teeth, visit our young patients FAQ page.