Begin dental care early!
Baby teeth are important for:
- Jaw development – chewing stimulates proper jaw growth.
- Chewing – food broken down makes digestion easier.
- Speech development – properly aligned teeth aid in speech.
- Spacing – baby teeth guide permanent teeth into proper position. Children start to lose their baby teeth around 6 years of age and all the way up until around 14 years of age.
Tooth decay can start as soon as baby teeth appear (around 6-12 months of age). Young children are not able to clean their own teeth. As a parent, you must do it for them when they are very young and do it with them as they get older. Brush your child’s teeth morning and night with a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
What is early childhood tooth decay?
- Early childhood tooth decay is the main cause of tooth decay for children under the age of 4. It is a serious disease that can destroy teeth but it can be prevented!
- Brush your baby’s teeth morning and night with a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Avoid letting your baby drink from a sip cup or bottle constantly throughout the day.
- Never put baby to bed with a bottle as they may fall asleep with milk or juice still in their mouth.
- Lift your child’s lip once a month to check teeth for chalky, dull white spots or lines which are early signs of tooth decay (cavities). Catch small problems early.
- Drink water for thirst between regular meals and snacks.
- Choose healthy foods.
- Visit your dental office regularly. Catch small problems early – before they become big problems.
5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth
1. Keep your mouth clean
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Wait at least 20–30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.
- Floss every day.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Limit foods and beverages containing sugar or carbohydrates.
- Ideal snack foods: cheese, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.
- Look for oral care products with the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal.
2. Check your mouth regularly
Look for signs of gum disease:
Red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums
Bleeding when you brush or floss
Bad breath that won't go away
Look for signs of oral cancer:
Bleeding or open sores that don't heal
White or red patches
Numbness or tingling
Small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks, or on your gums
3. Eat well
Good nutrition helps build strong teeth and gums.
Munch on mouth-healthy snacks like cheeses, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.
4. See your dentist regularly
48% of Canadians who haven't seen a dentist in the past year have gum disease. Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse.
5. Don't smoke or chew tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer, heart disease, gum disease, and a variety of other cancers.
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