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Questions Parents Ask About Their Child's Oral Health

Below are some common questions parents ask concerning their child's teeth.

Below are some common questions parents ask concerning their child's teeth.

Q: Aren't these just baby teeth and aren't they going to fall out soon? Why should I get them fixed?

A: Baby teeth otherwise called primary teeth play many roles within the oral cavity. Most importantly they help the child chew, swallow and talk! Primary teeth provide guidance for eruption for the permanent teeth while maintaining proper space in the jaw during it's development. If a cavity in a baby tooth is left untreated it will spread downwards through the tooth's pulp and out the end of the root  possibly infecting the permanent tooth/teeth underneath. This spread of dental infection can also cause an infection int the jawbone. Keeping a primary tooth is recommended in most circumstances but if a tooth must be removed prematurely,  a space maintainer may be recommended to keep the space where the primary tooth would have been. Losing space in the arch before the adult teeth have come in may necessitate orthodontic treatment to correct the problem later and often the treatment is more complicated so it is best to create the best starting point by looking after baby teeth and monitoring you child's development along with your dentist.

Q: My child's friends have lost numerous teeth but she has not lost any? Does she need to have them taken out?

A: Each child matures at a different rates, both physically and within the oral cavity. Your child's teeth will develop and erupt at their own pace. To ensure that the permanent teeth are present and we have nothing to be concerned about, xrays may be recommended so we can view the teeth that are not yet present. For some children who have very small jawbone size compared to the size of their teeth they may experience a delay in eruption of the adult teeth.  

Q: My children do not eat very much junk food but they have cavities every time they visit the dentist?

A:  Cavities are caused by cavity causing bacteria, but many factors come into play that can increase your child's oral decay risk. Among these are the shape/positioning of teeth, what he/she eats and how long it takes to do so, and finally how often the child's teeth are brushed and flossed. Another factor that can determine whether a child develops cavities is whether he/she has had exposure to fluoride and calcium which strengthen the teeth and helps to prevent cavities.

Q: My child develops a lot of plaque on his teeth even though he brushes?

A: Many children under the age of 8 need their teeth brushed for them. Manual dexterity is typically not developed enough to brush in a thorough and effective manner until then. No matter the child's age parents should always monitor the final result to ensure all plaque is being removed. Plaque left on the teeth, red and puffy gums are signs a child is not brushing effectively or properly. Most children cannot see the areas he or she is missing. Ask your dental professional to review brushing with your child each time he/she visits to see if the technique they are using is effective. It is recommended until the age of 8 the parent and child alternates brushing to ensure effectively plaque removal to prevent cavities and gingivitis.

Q: My child is terrified of visiting the dentist, what can I do to help her overcome this?

A: Discussing his or her fears prior to the dental appointment is important so you can reassure your child that he or she is safe where she is going and that his/her fears may be unfounded. It is important to find a dental practice where they work with children on a daily basis to ensure his/her experience is positive. At times some children may do better without their parents in the room during the initial visit while some may need their parents reassurance. The dental professional may gauge which may works better depending on each individual situation. It is important that your child not pick up on any of your own dental anxieties so please ensure that he/she does not hear you speaking about your own negative experiences or fear.

For more information about dentistry for children in Sault Ste Mare visit Northern Dental Care's website at,

 Toddler and Child Day at the Dentist Program! -FREE TO SAULT CHILDREN! Volunteer run program, every two months on a Saturday. Our next date is Saturday November 9, 2013.

Call (705)575-7572