Pediatric FAQ's

Keep your Child’s Teeth Problem-Free and Healthy

We are deeply dedicated and committed to the total health and well-being of your children.

Below are some frequently asked questions about pediatric dentistry and our answers about the best way to care for your children’s teeth.

At our Laval office we will take the time to guide and mentor young patients on the importance of healthy teeth and good oral hygiene techniques. Healthy adult teeth begin with healthy baby teeth!

If you are worried about your child’s teeth, call our practice. We will gladly examine your child’s teeth and gums and help your child build a lifetime of great dental habits.
(450) 627-2658

When should I start brushing my children’s teeth?

As soon as they sprout!  Make it a fun part of their daily routine.

When should I start to bring my kids to the dentist?

The Ordres des Dentistes de Quebec and the Canadian Dental Association recommend that parents bring their children in between 6 months and a year of life. Bringing your baby in at this age will set a lifetime of healthy oral care in motion.

How frequently should I schedule dental visits?

Generally, every six months, unless there is a particular oral health reason that requires more frequent follow-up. We may recommend more frequent visits depending on the circumstances of your child’s oral health. We would advise you if that is the case.

Why do baby teeth need dental care if they are only going to fall out anyway?

This is a common line of thinking, but one we don’t agree with. There are many reasons:

  • Just because they don’t stay around, doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Healthy teeth help your kids chew, speak and smile. Decay or problems can affect our children in many negative ways, both in function and in confidence.
  • If decay is left untreated, the baby tooth may no longer be restorable and may be prematurely lost.
  • Baby teeth act as placeholders in the jaw for the adult teeth. If for some reason they are lost or extracted prematurely, other teeth can shift and set the conditions for crooked adult teeth.
  • Most importantly, as with adults, our children’s oral health directly affects his/her overall health.

How should I clean my infant’s teeth?

Actually, you should start cleaning their gums after each feeding from birth. Healthy baby teeth come from healthy baby gums. Dampen a soft cloth or gauze and gently wipe any residue for the baby’s gums. It will not only remove any sugars and bacteria from their gums, but it will get them accustomed to dental care.

As soon as a little tooth sprouts through the gums, buy your child their first toothbrush.

Get an *infant* toothbrush if possible, it will have a smaller head and be easier to use. It must have soft bristles.

Encourage your baby to hold onto the toothbrush as you brush.

Don’t worry about toothpaste for now, it’s not necessary. Water is sufficient. See below.

Use gentle strokes, behind and in front of the tooth.

As you child grows and teethes, he or she may be fussy about brushing Just be gentle.

Teething toys can be used to help relieve their discomfort. Some infant toothbrushes come with teethers attached.

If they resist the toothbrush, don’t despair. Go back to the cloth or gauze and try again in a few days.

So then, when should I use toothpaste?

Start using toothpaste once there are several teeth showing.

Use toothpaste WITHOUT fluoride until your child turns two years old. You can use toothpaste with fluoride after that.

In both cases, you only need a tiny smear or dab. Don’t get influenced by the TV commercial showing a full head of toothpaste – that’s not a healthy amount of fluoride for your child to swallow and could cause stains on their adult teeth. Encourage them to spit the toothpaste, rather than swallow, from the beginning, so that when they use fluoride toothpaste, the habit is ingrained.

What about flossing?

You should start flossing your child’s teeth when they start having their baby teeth. Once a child’s baby teeth start to touch together, parents’ should start to get their children into the habit of flossing daily. Children usually develop enough dexterity to floss on their own by age 10. Till that time, you will have to do it for them and then monitor them afterwards until you are sure they are doing it correctly.

Up until when should I help my children with brushing and flossing?

Children don’t really have the granular motor skills to brush their own teeth effectively until they turn six or seven years old. You’ll have to do it for them until then, and monitor them afterwards until you are sure they are doing it correctly.

Yes, it’s a ton of work. Welcome to parenthood. Cavities are worse, trust us.

Should I get my child sealants?

Sealants cover and fill the pits and fissures in teeth that are difficult to reach and therefore susceptible to bacteria accumulation and decay.

We highly recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your child avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are hardest to reach.

We talk about sealants extensively on our Sealants page.

Is thumb sucking bad? What about pacifiers?

Most babies suck their thumbs, fingers, hand, toes or any object within reach. Some kids keep the habit of thumb sucking into their toddler years.

For most children, this will not cause any lasting problem. If your child sucks their thumb frequent or vigorously or if he or she is still sucking after the permanent teeth grow in, then yes, that could potentially affect their dental health. Your dentist should be able to tell you if their habit is causing a problem.

How do I protect their teeth during sports?

Certain sports mandate the use of sports guards (e.g. hockey). But really, every sport with the possibility of contact can cause an injury (soccer, baseball, football, etc.).

We recommend sports guards for all children active in sports.

You can read more about it our Sports Guard section. Or ask us to create a custom-fitted sports guard for your little athletes.

When are X-rays recommended?

We will start taking X-rays around their second or third birthday.

Usually the first set of X-rays is just a quick image of the front teeth.
Afterwards, x-rays will be taken on an annual basis once your child’s baby teeth touch together in the back. These images help us to make sure your child’s teeth and jaws are lined up correctly.

At our Laval-Ouest clinic, we have digital radiography, which emits 80% less radiation than traditional x-rays.

How can I keep my child from getting cavities?

Cavities are preventable. Here are several simple steps you can take at home to help your child stay cavity free.

  • Beware of frequent snacking and offer healthy snacks
  • Avoid carbonated drinks
  • Avoid soft sticky candies that easily get stuck on your children’s new teeth. Have your child brush immediately afterwards if possible. If not, give them a glass of water in order to dilute the sugars
  • Brush effectively twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss at least once a day but especially before bedtime
  • Make brushing and flossing a fun routine at home
  • Monitor and help your child with his brushing and flossing
  • Offer healthy foods and a balanced diet
  • Have sealants applied  when appropriate
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups twice a year.

At our office we will take the time to guide and mentor young patients on the importance of healthy teeth and good oral hygiene techniques.  We love to share fun tips on brushing and flossing with the whole family!.

My child grinds her teeth at night. What should I do?

Occasionally, children will grind their teeth in their sleep.

If you notice the noise created by your child’s teeth grinding then let your dentist know. He or she will check to see if there is anything to worry about. Most cases don’t require any special treatment and most children outgrow their grinding by the ages of 6 to 9 years old.

If the grinding is severe, your dentist may recommend solutions such as a Night Guard.

How do I avoid injuries?

Start by teaching your child to be careful with their teeth. Discourage them from chewing on anything hard: ice, popcorn kernels, etc. and from using their teeth as tools! They are not meant to be an all-purpose nut-cracker, bottle-opener, paper-cutter, and pencil-holder.

Healthy Smiles, Happy Children

Sealant are a great way to help protect your child’s teeth against decay. A simple and effective treatment, sealants can help your entire family maintain beautiful healthy smiles.