Children’s Dental Health At Li Family Dental

Dr. Christopher Li Etobicoke - Li Family Dental

By Dr. Christopher Li

February 19, 2024

children's dental health, children's dental health month, children's dentistry, children's teeth, childrens dentist

At Li Family Dental we have always stressed the importance of proper dental care for kids to set them on a path of lifelong oral health. Since we’re celebrating Children’s Dental Health Month (and Tooth Fairy Day is coming up), we thought we’d take this opportunity to explain what our team of dental professionals does to promote children’s dental health. 

Encouraging Regular Dental Care For Children

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It all starts with regular dental care to help create strong dental health habits that keep kids’ teeth healthy. Your child’s first dentist helps them develop an understanding of their responsibility in managing their own oral health. This is ongoing education we provide in age-appropriate language that your child can understand as he grows. Children need to know the ‘why’ behind the things we ask of them (like brushing and flossing every day), and if this step is missed, it decreases the odds of your child creating healthy oral care habits for life. We help encourage regular dental care for children in several ways:

  • We recommend parents schedule their child’s first dental appointment with the arrival of their first tooth or by their first birthday – whichever comes first.
  • We set routine exam schedules based on each child’s needs with the recommendation for at least two appointments each year at six-month intervals.
  • We make dental appointments fun from day one to reduce the risk of kids developing dental phobias that impact adult oral care and their overall health.
  • We educate children on the importance of dental care and proper oral hygiene techniques.
  • We are here through each of your child’s life stages to support parents and answer your questions 

Why Family Dental Care Is Important

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We view family dental care as an important part of general child health and wellness. Also, we believe when parents maintain their own regular dental appointments, they set a good example for their kids. Proper family dental care avoids the challenges kids face related to poor oral health, including:

  • Pain from tooth decay and unhealthy gums
  • Insecurities related to the appearance of unhealthy teeth
  • Threat of gum infections that can spread through the body
  • Bite issues that cause pain and interfere with healthy eating habits
  • Poor socialization skills due to embarrassment about their teeth
  • Interference with proper speech development
  • Confidence issues that impact school performance

When kids receive regular, proper dental care, they are more likely to reach their developmental milestones and thrive. 

Addressing The Differences Between Permanent And Baby Teeth

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Choosing a dentist specializing in children’s dentistry is best for your child’s dental health. We understand the differences that impact both baby and permanent teeth, as each set of teeth comes with its own dental issues and challenges. Some of the most notable differences include:

  • Placement: Baby teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth. It’s important to have a dentist who understands what to look for — i.e. the various signs and signals that there could be issues with permanent teeth development. For example, missing baby teeth could mean adult teeth can’t erupt properly due to a lack of space, leading to all kinds of issues with permanent teeth, from bite to overlaps.
  • Enamel: Baby teeth have much thinner and weaker enamel than adult teeth, making them more prone to cavities. Some parents feel cleanings and regular checkups aren’t important for baby teeth because they’ll fall out eventually. However, they are much more vulnerable to cavities, which can cause pain and even lead to infections that impact their permanent teeth.
  • Habits: Habits like going to bed with a bottle can increase harmful bacteria in the mouth, leading to a higher risk of cavities. Also, thumb-sucking and pacifier use beyond the age of 2-3 can impact teeth and palate development, leading to a narrow palate, bite issues, speech issues, reduced tooth spacing in the upper jaw, and more.
  • Baby teeth gaps: Baby teeth have larger gaps than adult teeth because permanent teeth are larger and need more space to come in. Parents might see gaps in baby teeth and worry their kids need braces when these gaps are actually normal for a child’s first set of teeth. 

Providing Appropriate Preventative Steps And Treatments

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At Li Family Dental we provide appropriate kid-friendly preventative steps and treatments. Dentists who don’t work with children regularly might miss important steps that impact oral health. For example, preventative care for kids should stress the importance of fluoride, while adults have a choice whether they want fluoride treatments or not. Also, treatments common for kids that aren’t often used for adults, such as applying dental sealants to protect more pronounced pits and grooves in molars, play an important role in children’s preventative dental care.

We also strive to provide continuous education for our young patients so we can help improve their oral hygiene techniques at home. We make learning fun and keep an eye on common issues that arise with kids’ brushing so we can share tips with parents, while also demonstrating proper techniques to kids.

Another consideration is the tools we use. Many “regular” dental offices use the same size tools for kids as they do for adults. While this is perfectly acceptable, it doesn’t make for the most pleasant experience for young children (not to mention the fact that using tools that are too large doesn’t allow us to reach all the places in their mouths that we need to, for an effective checkup and cleaning).

Children’s mouths are much smaller so, logically, using smaller tools can help keep them more comfortable during their appointment, and allows for a much more thorough cleaning and checkup. Having to open their mouths too wide for tools that are not meant for children can be painful, and having a large tool in their mouth can create unpleasant experiences. These memories stay with children and can lead to avoidance of dental care as an adult, or even development of dental phobias and fears. Smaller tools are more comfortable while ensuring we can get to those harder-to-reach areas. 

Building Relationships For Excellent Lifelong Children’s Dental Health

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We believe that the steps and attitudes your child’s dentist takes today determines the attitude your kids will have toward dentists and dental care in the future. Therefore, we provide the best possible impression from their very first visit so they feel comfortable at our office and don’t develop a fear of dentists. We make dental care fun — we explain what tools we are using and how they work, give them a test drive of our dental chair, and even give them a fun heads-up when using noisier tools so it’s not scary. We’re all about smiling faces, silly jokes, and building trusting relationships to set the foundation for a life of proper dental care. 

Reducing Anxiety Before Appointments

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It helps to tell kids before they even arrive for their appointment that Li Family Dental is a fun place with friendly people. Showing them our website and social media accounts allows them to see our faces, so we seem more familiar when they arrive. It also shows kids and other young patients enjoying themselves. Let them know we have TVs in every room, and they command the controls! Preparing them ahead of time about our fun office will help set their mind at ease.

Give us a call at 416-232-2033 or request an appointment by clicking here.

Dr. Christopher Li

About the author

Doctor Christopher Li, DDS
Dr. Chris, as he is affectionately known, is a licensed dentist with over 20 years experience. His caring personality makes even the most tentative person at ease. Patients are constantly commenting about how Dr. Chris is incredible at delivering pain-free freezing, and how he has an amazing chair-side manner.  Dr. Chris loves sharing information with his patients and everyone who has teeth about how to care for their teeth, avoid tooth decay, and the treatments available to help them overcome their tooth pain or other dental issues so they can enjoy life and food to its fullest!

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