One of the best ways to keep your child’s smile healthy for life is to start good oral health habits early, even before they have spouted their own new teeth.

The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) supports first visit within the first year (or first tooth eruption) as a dental best practice to help reduce cavities.

Delaying that first visit can have serious consequences.  A Canadian Institute for Health Information report showed that early childhood caries (severe decay in the teeth of infants or young children) accounts for approximately one-third of all day surgeries performed on pre-schoolers.

Toothaches and infections in primary teeth can result in lost sleep, poor growth, and behavioural problems. The negative impacts can also extend to a child’s self-esteem and her ability to communicate and socialize.

Celebrate Your Child’s First Tooth

Your child’s first visit to the dentist is an important milestone and should be celebrated!

The first visit to the dentist is an opportunity for the dentist to provide guidance to parents on optimal oral care for the child and to assess the risk of early cavities.

Teaching children proper oral care from the start puts them on the path to a healthy mouth and a healthy life.

 How to Prevent Early Tooth Decay

Things you can do at home for your child to help prevent early tooth decay:

Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of milk or any other liquid other than water.

Don’t dip the soother in sweets.

Give breastfed babies Vitamin D supplements.

Brush baby’s teeth with a children’s toothbrush or wipe with a damp washcloth.

Avoid letting your child walk around with a bottle or sippy cup.

Start bottle weaning and introduce drinking from a cup by age 1. Celebrate and reinforce the routine of teeth-cleaning. Limit juice or other sweet drinks.

Give water in between meals.

Eat a healthy diet.

Offer cheese, fruits, vegetables and nuts as snacks.