Taking Care of Baby Teeth

Answers to your questions about taking care of your babies teeth.

Taking Care of Baby Teeth


1.    “My child wants to brush her own teeth but I think she is still too young. What can I do?”

It’s fine to give your daughter a turn at brushing her teeth, but it is important you brush them as well.  Choose a toothbrush of the appropriate size (remember, smaller is always better!) and let her have her turn.  You can use the same toothbrush when she’s finished, or you can use another brush while she hangs on to hers, whichever works best for you. You should continue to help her brush her teeth twice every day until she demonstrates she can brush effectively on her own.  Children do not develop the dexterity to brush their teeth properly on their own until the age of 8 or 9.  Brushing two times every day for two minutes each time, in the morning and before bed and flossing once a day when teeth start to touch is very important.  Keep her teeth free of food, especially the molars, as they have grooves and pits that act as traps for food that will react with the bacteria in her mouth to cause cavities.  While she is still young, you can cradle her head with one arm and use the other to brush her teeth.  As she gets older, inspect after each brushing and go over the areas she may have missed.

2.    “My child has a cavity in her baby tooth. Will that affect the adult tooth that will be coming in?”

If you think that you have seen a cavity on your child’s tooth the most important thing to do is to take them to a dentist.  The dentist will examine your child and let you know what treatment is required.  If a cavity is found and fixed at an early stage, there won’t be any negative effects on the underlying adult tooth.  Baby teeth are important. They help your child develop good speech, healthy eating habits, and good social skills. Baby teeth hold the space for adult teeth to grow into.  If baby teeth are lost too early the permanent teeth can grow into the wrong spot and your child may need braces in the future to correct the problem. Untreated cavities can lead to pain, infection, loss of teeth, and ultimately more expensive dental care.




Author: Claire Crossman

Claire Crossman, CDA, is with the Oral Health Division of the Durham Region Health Department: health@durham.ca, www.durham.ca.

Share This Post On