Get To Know – And Protect – Your Child’s Smile

Since we care for oral health of many families at Dental Care Group, we know a thing or two about how a child’s smile develops – from birth all the way through their teenage years.

If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about your child’s teeth, keep reading this blog. I’ll also cover some of the things you should consider and look out for as a parent.

The early days …  Your child’s first set of teeth, known as baby or primary teeth, should begin to appear at six months of age. They are critical because they save space in the jaw for the placement of permanent teeth and they help your child chew foods and speak properly. When these teeth are adequately cared for, it can help your child avoid future orthodontic work, like braces.

For most kids, all baby teeth fall out by the age of 12. Permanent teeth begin to appear at the age of six, with the final teeth (cuspids and bicuspids) arriving between the ages of 17 and 21.

Here are a couple of key concerns to watch out for …

  • Baby bottle tooth decay. Infants and young children suffer from this when sugary liquids contained in in milk, formula, or fruit juices are exposed to the teeth for extended periods of time. These sugars create acid that attack and damage teeth. To avoid this condition, don’t let your child sleep with their bottle. When you bring your child to our practice, we’ll check for any brown spots – a clear indication of the onset of tooth decay. Even before your child’s teeth first appear, use a washcloth to clean their gums.
  • Thumb sucking. Most children break this habit by the age of 5. If your child keeps doing it as their permanent teeth grow in, it can lead to problems. Because the jawbone is still soft and pliable under the age of 8, this habit can reshape the jaw and result in misalignment. Upper teeth will flare outwards while lower teeth are forced inwards. If your child keeps doing it, try out a rewards program to recognize their efforts to stop. For example, read them an extra bedtime story or treat them to a trip to the park. Offer encouraging words every day they don’t suck their thumb. If that doesn’t work, an oral appliance from your Danforth dentist will do the trick.

Your child’s first trip to the dentist … You should think about bringing your child to Dental Care Group as early as six months of age and no later than age 1. When you bring your son or daughter in to see us, our friendly and caring team will complete an overall assessment of their teeth and gums. If necessary, we’ll also take x-rays to get a close look at facial bones and pinpoint decay.

Call us to book your child’s first visit to the dentist! We’d love to meet them and be part of the development of their healthy smile.


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Dr. Chris Binert graduated from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry, 1983 with honors. She has been a member of the Ontario Dental Association and the Canadian Dental Association since her graduation.

Dr. Binert is currently an instructor at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, and has taught there for over 25 years. She is currently the Director of the Dental Care Group.