April is recognized as National Oral Health Month by the Government of Canada.
Pediatric dentist Dr. Jaime Greenspoon joined Global’s Laura Casella to discuss dental hygiene and oral care for children.
Greenspoon debunked the recommended age for a child’s first trip to the dentist.
“By three, bad habits can already be ingrained by parents and children,” Greenspoon said.
“The new recommendation by the [American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry] is to bring your child around one for their first dental visit.”
The purpose is to give dentists an earlier first look and teach parents good cleaning habits early on.
Greenspoon stated that early oral health matters. As some baby teeth can last up until the age of 13, it’s important not to neglect health even though such teeth will “eventually fall out.”
“Fluoride is such a controversial topic, I believe the benefits outweigh the risk if it’s used properly,” Greenspoon said.
“I recommend brushing with fluoride based toothpaste at a young age, especially in places like Montreal, where there is no fluoride in the water.”
Ensure the amount of fluoride-based toothpaste used is a small amount, between rice size and pea size, and that the child does their best to rinse it out.
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Try to buy soft bristled toothbrushes compared to hard bristled brushes.
“Most people apply too much pressure when they brush,” Greenspoon said.
“If you’re using a hard toothbrush, you risk causing enamel abrasion and can cause more gingival recession, gum recession which can be irreversible.”
Bleeding is a result of inflammation around the gums. Avoiding to brush the area is counter-intuitive.
Greenspoon says people would have to brush and floss more to remove the inflammation and stop the bleeding.
Using electric toothbrushes will generally clean better than a child with lower dexterity, but it all depends on how the child brushes.
“Brushes and water-picks don’t really work,” said Greenspoon about the importance of flossing regularly.
“Flossing can help prevent inflammation of your gums, cavities in between your teeth, help your mouth remain healthier and give you less chance of gum disease.”
For more information about best practices for your kid’s dental hygiene, please visit the CDHA website.
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