Early Dental Care Essential

Primary teeth play important role in a child’s jaw development

By Dr. Cameron M. Zealand,

BSc(CE), MSc(Eng), BSc(Dent), DMD, Cert Ped. Dent., MS(Pedo), FRCD(C), Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

Dental hygiene is important for everyone – including babies. It is important for parents and caregivers to take an active role in caring for their baby’s teeth by cleaning them at home, providing a balanced diet and scheduling regular dental check-ups.

A common misconception is that primary or “baby” teeth are not important because they will eventually fall out. On the contrary, a child’s first set of pearly whites sets the stage for good overall health.

Primary teeth are important for chewing and maintaining a healthy diet, facial development and preparing the jaw for the arrival of permanent teeth.

Unfortunately, tooth decay can begin as soon as the teeth emerge, as early as six months of age. Decay in the primary teeth may cause pain. It can also harm erupting permanent teeth developing inside the gums.

The good news is that tooth decay is totally preventable by following some simple, basic tips.

First, never allow a baby to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, juice, sweetened liquids or a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey. This causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) or more commonly known as Early Childhood Caries (ECC), the leading cause of dental decay in young children.

Second, start oral health care early. Even before the first tooth comes in, wipe baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad or towel after each feeding. Begin brushing the teeth with water as soon as the first tooth appears in the mouth.

Finally, talk to a pediatric dentist about scheduling the child’s first dental visit. Both the Canadian and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggest that it is beneficial for the first visit to occur within six months of the first tooth erupting and no later than the baby’s first birthday.

Regular dental checkups, at an early age, get your child comfortable with visiting the dentist and play a big role in preventing tooth decay. It’s an important step in building healthy, beautiful smiles for life.

At North Calgary Pediatric Dentistry, pediatric dentists, Drs. Vinsky and Zealand take an active role in promoting oral health. We strive to provide a professional environment that is child friendly.

Through personal attention, we seek to provide valuable information and specialized care to our young patients and their parents.

North Calgary Pediatric Dentistry is located at 8290 Centre Street North. For more information visit northcalgarypediatricdentistry.com or to make an appointment, call (403)-295-8010.