A Toothy Smile


Good Morning Moms, today our guest on SavvyMom TV is Dr Edward J. Barrett, a staff member of the Pediatric Dental Trauma Research Group at SickKids Hospital and Assistant Professor at The University of Toronto. He also runs his own private practice in pediatric dentistry in Toronto (so we figure he knows his stuff). We are thrilled to have him share his recommendations on how to care for our children’s teeth.
But doctor, they’re just baby teeth. Can’t we just leave them and wait for them to fall out?
I hear this daily and it is both sad and disheartening Sad, because the little people who are attached to the baby teeth are left to bear the results of decisions that ultimately leave them in worse conditions than they arrive in and disheartening because despite all the advances in dental care, children continue to get cavities.

Okay, so let’s start at the very beginning then—when do I have to bring my child to the dentist?
A child’s first dental visit should occur within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth. You can expect the dentist to examine the child’s teeth (or tooth) and acquaint you with what to expect developmentally in your child’s mouth, how to care for their teeth and how to prevent problems.

Do I really have to bring my child to the dentist every six months?
No. I usually ask to see cavity-free children under three annually after the first visit, then transition them to semi-annual visits around the age of four.

My 3 year old lets me brush his teeth but when can I let him do it on his own?
My childhood dentist told my parents: “He can brush on his own when he pays his own bills!”. My answer is that parents are responsible for brushing their children’s teeth until at least the age of about 4 when their fine motor skills allow them to do a reasonable job and they are able to spit voluntarily. Even then, parents should periodically check your child’s teeth to ensure that they are properly cleaned.


Leave a Comment