Children’s Dentist at Edmonton’s Azarko Dental Answers Parents’ Questions

First-time parents and parents of young children want to know how best to protect their children’s teeth against decay. At Azarko Dental Group, we help our youngest patients establish good dental hygiene habits and a positive attitude toward regular dental visits and dental exams. Here are some answers to the questions posed by parents to their children’s dentist at Edmonton’s Azarko Dental Group.

When should I start taking my child to the dentist?

You should schedule an appointment with a children’s dentist in Edmonton right around your child’s first birthday, when your child has started to grow primary teeth.

Should I be concerned about my child’s thumb-sucking?

Thumb-sucking is fine for infants and children below the age of four, but it presents a problem once permanent teeth begin to erupt. At this stage, thumb-sucking can push teeth out of alignment and cause malformations to the roof of your child’s mouth. It can also affect the position of your child’s lower and upper jaw, as well as your child’s speech.

How can I help my child break the habit?

Since thumb-sucking is a behaviour that children often use to comfort themselves, don’t add to their anxiety by scolding or confronting your child for thumb-sucking. Instead, try the following techniques:

Young girl in dentist's chair
  • Explain to the child that sucking the thumb can hurt his or her teeth
  • Limit the times and places: for instance, thumb-sucking can be confined to naptime or bedtime
  • Make your child aware of thumb-sucking when it occurs –children often do it unconsciously
  • Notice and offer praise when the child does not resort to thumb-sucking – positive reinforcement is powerful!
  • Let the child know that one day they will grow out of the habit, just like other people and characters they admire.

If thumb-sucking continues, consult with your children’s dentist at Azarko Dental Group. We will be happy to help you with your concerns.

When should my child begin brushing his or her teeth and how can I help?

When your child is two or three, you can teach your child to brush their own teeth. Hold your child’s toothbrush at an angle towards their teeth and gums, and move it back and forth with short strokes. Brush all surfaces of your child’s teeth and then gently brush the tongue. Finish by flossing your child’s teeth daily.

Are early dental hygiene habits really that important?

Absolutely. Baby teeth are important to your child’s appearance, speech, and eating ability. They are also less densely mineralised than adult teeth, meaning that they are more prone to damage. Dental hygiene is important in protecting them.

How can I encourage my child to practice proper dental hygiene?

Give your child a sense of having some control over the situation by letting your child pick their own toothbrush and brush their own teeth (though you will still have to brush any missed spots). It is also a good idea to create a schedule so that your child gets into a routine. You may also want to brush and floss your own teeth with your child so that your child can see how you do it.

What is childhood tooth decay and how can I help my child avoid it?

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria use sugar that has been consumed to create acids that dissolve teeth. To avoid it, put your child to bed with a bottle of water instead of juice or milk and wean your child off of bottles by 14 months. Limit sweets and encourage your child to brush after eating. Fluoride treatment also prevents tooth decay by strengthening teeth.

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