Children don't come with a manual and parents often have questions about how to take care of their children's teeth. When should you start brushing? What kind of toothpaste is best? When should you go to the dentist? Knowing the answers to these questions can help keep your child's teeth healthy and cavity free.

WHEN SHOULD I BEGIN BRUSHING?

You should begin cleaning your infant's teeth as soon as they get their first tooth, usually around four months of age. At first, you can simply use a damp washcloth, but as they get more teeth, you can introduce a soft children's toothbrush with a smear of children's toothpaste.

WHAT KIND OF TOOTHPASTE IS BEST?

Your choice of toothpaste is important. A fluoridated toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel making the tooth more resistant to cavity formation. Most brands of children's toothpaste have lower levels of fluoride and are safe to use. Most children do not spit effectively and tend to swallow most of the toothpaste so you should only use a small, pea-size amount of a fluoridated toothpaste. Children's teeth should be brushed at least twice per day.

WHEN SHOULD THEIR FIRST DENTIST VISIT BE?

An early visit to the dentist is a good way to introduce and familiarize your child to the office and dental team. Generally, we see children between 18-24 months for their first dental examination. You'll learn how to implement and teach proper oral hygiene for your child, and get suggestions on a diet that promotes good dental health for the whole family.

WHEN SHOULD I START TO FLOSS MY CHILD'S TEETH?

Flossing is an important part of good daily oral hygiene practices. You need to floss between any of your child's teeth that contact together as toothbrush bristles cannot clean between these teeth. There are a variety of dental flossing aids we will be happy to show and discuss with you to make this task easier.

IS MY CHILD GETTING ENOUGH FLUORIDE?

In the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, the water supply contains no fluoride supplementation. The only source of fluoride your child is getting is from the use of a fluoridated toothpaste. If your child is brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing effectively then there is likely no need for extra fluoride supplementation. You may want to consider extra fluoride supplements especially if your child has multiple cavities. We will gladly discuss with you your child's individual need for fluoride supplementation.

SHOULD I CONSIDER SEALANTS FOR MY CHILD?

A sealant is a plastic material that is applied to a tooth in order to fill in the pits and grooves on a tooth's surface. This makes the tooth surface easier to clean and prevents bacteria and food debris from accumulating in the pits and grooves. Sealants are usually placed on the 1st and 2nd permanent molars as these teeth are often difficult for your child to clean and are prone to developing cavities.