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How to Instill Dental Health in your Kids

Tooth decay affects children and adults alike, and although children lose their baby teeth, their mouths will have new teeth along with old ones. It is important to prevent tooth decay from the start. Furthermore, a child should learn dental health care habits early for a lifetime of good oral health.

Daily habits

Children should brush and floss, and the most important brush is the one before bedtime. Between brushing teeth before bed and going to sleep, children should not consume food, especially ones containing sugar. In fact, sugar in general should be avoided in children’s diets, including fortified or natural juice. For parents looking to feed their kids healthy and balanced meals, juice should only be used as a treat instead of a replacement for hydration.

Community involvement

Ideally, your child should see or have seen a dentist by their first birthday. Have your dentist or hygienist explain how to brush and floss teeth. Community health fairs are available in some areas, and visiting the booths is a good way to refresh memories on dental hygiene as explained by healthcare professionals. Your school may hold contests or educational days having to do with dental health, so it is important to mark these days on your calendar. Pay attention to the messages as your child may need a further explanation at home. The importance of having good teeth will be emphasized between dentist appointments.

Parental oversight

Kids do not gain the motor skills to properly brush teeth or floss until rough ages 6 and 10 respectively. Your oversight will be needed until then. For even younger children, you will be the one handling the toothbrush. Use a soft cloth to wipe the teeth of a baby, and floss when two teeth appear side-by-side. Avoid sugary foods and medicine, as children will not have the maturity to make these decisions.


Brush your child’s teeth early enough before he or she becomes too tired during bedtime but late enough that the child isn’t hungry. Allow your child to make decisions involving their dental health, like choosing their toothpaste or toothbrush. However, avoiding brushing is not an option. Choose a child-friendly dentist, preferably one with other children as clients. Ask your dentist for tips on encouraging dental health or for brightly coloured children’s materials explaining hygienic concerns and habits. Non-food related rewards can be used to encourage positive efforts.

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Our governing College, Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) has advised dentists that they strongly recommend that all non-essential and elective dental services should be suspended immediately. Public safety is our number one concern. We need to put our patients’ interests and the safety of the community, first. Ontario has declared a state of emergency, and the Canadian government is strongly urging all Canadians to practice social distancing.

Dental hygiene services in a time of a "pandemic" are not considered emergency or essential services. Our College has advised that we postpone all appointments for Hygiene scaling/cleanings until further notice. We may however, be open for EMERGENCIES. We ask that you call one of our offices to schedule this, and to be pre-screened.

What is the definition of an essential service?

In dentistry, a “true emergency situation” includes oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding or pain which cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we are here for you and want to help. Please call our offices to speak with one of our representatives who will be able to screen and advise you accordingly.  CONSULTATIONS OVER THE PHONE will be available with the Doctor, if needed.

This strong recommendation to suspend non-essential services, is being followed in interest of the public, our patients and our Team. We all need to act in a socially responsible manner. The College will revisit this recommendation in the first week of April. We will continue to keep you up to date.

Stay safe, and healthy.

Drs. Jim Argyropoulos, Robert Polese, Ari Voudouris & Associates