Dental HealthMy child needs some dental work, but I can't afford it. What can I do?
Please call Elgin St. Thomas Public Health at 519 631-9900, Ext 259. There is a program that may be able to help pay for dental treatment for children from preschool to grade 8 in families who do not have dental insurance and are unable to afford the cost of treatment.
Check with Public Health to see if your child qualifies for this program (there are criteria of urgency) or if anything might be available for teens in the same situation.What about using toothpaste with young children?We do not recommend using toothpaste before 3 years old.
Most toothpastes contain fluoride. While this is a beneficial additive, children
under 3 years old often swallow the toothpaste and it is possible for the teeth
to receive too much fluoride through the digestive system.
By just receiving fluoride topically (what is actually touching
the tooth), the tooth will not absorb too much fluoride. There are some toothpastes
without fluoride, but they are often much more expensive. The bristles of the
brush alone will do a good job of cleaning the teeth when used properly.What is the best way to brush?
A number of methods are acceptable. Ask your dentist or
hygienist for advice. One very good method is as follows:
When do the baby (primary) teeth appear?
- Place the bristles of the toothbrush gently against the
teeth, angled toward the gums. Gently "jiggle" the brush, moving
from the gums to the biting edge of the tooth -- or use small gentle circles
moving from the gums to the edge of the tooth.
- Do this along the fronts of all teeth, then along the
inside of all teeth.
- Next "scrub" on the chewing surfaces of the
- Finish with a gentle wiping of the toothbrush on the
tongue (not too far back) to clean bacteria from the tongue as well.
The baby teeth usually begin to appear at about 6 months old and by 2-1/2 years old all 20 primary teeth will probably be in place.
Remember, all children develop at their own rate of growth, so take this as a general rate of appearance. Some children will be ahead of schedule and some will be later.When do the permanent teeth make their appearance?
The first permanent tooth to appear is often the first permanent molar, called the 6-year molar as it generally appears in the 6th year. It comes in at the back, behind the two baby molars and there is no baby tooth to be lost in its place. The other teeth erupt (appear) from 6 through 13 years of age, pushing the baby teeth out. The second permanent molar comes in behind the 6-year molar at about 12 years of age. Wisdom teeth may erupt after 18 years of age. When should I start cleaning my child's teeth?
Teeth should be cleaned as soon as they appear in the mouth. It's easy to make this a habit if you start right from birth by gently wiping the gums with a clean, wet washcloth after each feeding or at least, at bedtime.
After the first few teeth have appeared, move to a baby toothbrush. By age 2, your child should be learning to brush. Brushing the teeth requires some skill though, so you need to help them brush so they do a thorough job. You should assist them until about 7 or 8 years old.
Teeth should be brushed at least 2 times a day, for at least 2 minutes. The very minimum would be a thorough brushing every night before bed, since there is very little saliva to protect the teeth at night time.
When should I take my child for the first dental visit?
It is a good idea to arrange at least an introduction visit during your child's 3rd year. Your dental office would be able to assist you in planning when the first visit should be booked. Some offices like to see a child between 2 and 3 years old and some prefer the child to be better able to understand what's going on, so like to leave the first visit to 4 or 5 years old.
However, if your child has pain or if you have noticed something suspicious, book an appointment as soon as possible, regardless of age.Why should I have cavities filled in my child's primary teeth? The teeth are going to fall out anyway.
If a cavity is not repaired it can expand and lead to an infection (abscess) and/or a toothache. Remember that all baby teeth are not lost at 6 years old. The primary molars must last until 8 to 12 years old, depending on which tooth it is. A child cannot be allowed to have active decay or infection for such a length of time.