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Healthy Teeth: Why Starting Early is Key

Preventive oral hygiene is essential to defending against tooth decay and other health-related issues. Today, our dentists in Chilliwack explain why establishing good dental healthcare routines early in life is important for your child. 

As parent to an infant, you may think seeing the dentist is a trip best left until there is a mouthful of teeth to deal with. However, the Canadian Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist for an assessment at the signs of a first tooth, or by one year old. 

This initial visit can help your child learn to become comfortable with their dentist and establish a trusting relationship. A quick check of their teeth and gums will be completed. Subsequent visits should be arranged every six months for children's dental care, the same as for adults.

3 Reasons to Bring Your Child to The Dentist Early

  1. Build trust. Displaying that you trust your dentists can teach your child that seeing the dentist is a safe and important step in preventing and treating problems. 
  2. Check technique. Learn whether your teeth cleaning routine at home is working. If spots are being missed, early discovery is key to keeping those teeth healthy!
  3. Proactive approach. By visiting the dentist every six months, your dentist can be proactive and catch any developing issues early.

It’s important to understand that a child’s primary (“baby”) teeth are at risk of developing early childhood tooth decay as their protective enamel is thinner than that of permanent teeth. Tooth decay can be painful, impacting your child’s overall health. It can also trigger issues with sleeping, speaking or eating, as well as their ability to focus or learn.

Tips to Encourage Good Dental Care for Your Child

  • Begin even before the first tooth appears! Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe your baby’s gums twice a day.
  • Avoid offering bottles prior to naps or bedtime. If you can’t avoid it, try using water instead of milk or juice to avoid decay. Limit time with a bottle to five minutes or less to help prevent the development of orthodontic issues.
  • Take your child for their first dental visit around 12 months of age.
  • At the first sign of a tooth, brush your child’s teeth daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste until they’re old enough to spit it out (typically around 3 years old).
  • Let your child practice brushing by copying you, then finish for them, making sure that all surfaces have been cleaned. Your child will need help with brushing until they’re about 8 years old.
  • Teach your child to brush for two minutes twice a day.
  • Replace toothbrushes every few months or when they begin to show signs of wear, such as flattening or bushy bristles.
  • Bring your child for regular dental visits. Every six months is optimal, but this may vary depending on your dentist.

To start your child on a path of good dental health, contact our Chilliwack dentists to make an appointment.


Tips From Our Team
  • Just like you, we recommend your child visit the dentist at least twice a year. This routine should start after their first tooth appears.
    - The Young Street Dental Team

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