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Should I brush my child’s teeth for them?

Should I brush my child’s teeth for them?

As your child develops adult teeth, it is especially important to maintain healthy brushing habits. But pushing your child to brush their own teeth before they’re ready is one of the biggest oral healthcare mistakes parents can make. Some children may not be mature enough yet to brush their teeth properly. Your Kids Dental Group pediatric dentists can advise you how to brush your child’s teeth properly until it is time for them to do it on their own.


Signs that your child’s teeth are not being brushed properly:

  • White film, otherwise known as plaque, covering your child’s teeth
  • Red and swollen gums that could likely be a sign of gingivitis

How to Brush Your Child’s Teeth:

  1. Put a small, pea sized amount of toothpaste on a soft children’s brush.
  1. Stand behind your child and tilt their head slightly backwards, so you can see all the surfaces of your child’s teeth.
  1. Move the brush in gentle circles, angled towards the gums. Be sure to clean both the inner and outer sides of the teeth.
  1. Move the toothbrush back and forth on the chewing surface of the teeth.
  1. After cleaning all of the teeth, gently sweep the the toothbrush downwards on your child’s tongue, being sure not to reach too far back.
  1. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste and rise with water.

Signs that kids can brush their teeth on their own:

  1. They have reached the age between 6 to 9: This is typically the age range that children can comfortably transition from having their teeth brushed by their parents, to brushing on their own.
  1. They prove they are responsible: A child that can manage personal responsibilities such as cleaning their rooms or completing homework on on time, can likely take on the responsibility of brushing their teeth twice a day.
  1. They pass your tests: Check your child’s teeth after they are done brushing. Are their teeth and tongue sparkling clean? Gaining your approval is the most important test of all!

Are your concerned that your child’s teeth are not brushed properly? Are your child’s teeth unclean even with regular brushing?

Contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now and we will find the solution you need.!

Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642)

Cavities in Kids: Is my child at risk?

Cavities in Kids: Is my child at risk?

kids cavitiesCavities, or tooth decay, is one of the most common childhood diseases. It can happen when bacteria in mouths react with carbohydrates left on teeth and producing acid. These acids dissolve the tooth enamel over time and leads to cavities.

How do I know if my child has cavities?

Did you know that cavities grow a lot faster in children, and can form in just a few months, that’s why it is so important to take your children for regular dental checkups. When cavities are small, they do not cause any symptoms. But left untreated, it will hurt. Your child may complain of discomfort while chewing, and sensitivity to cold and hot foods. Some children may have a hard time verbalizing their discomfort, so instead of informing their parents of toothache, they may choose to eat softer foods, which irritates the teeth less.


Here are some main risk factors for cavities in children:

  • Falling asleep with a baby bottle

This is one of the most common reasons for tooth decay that we see here at Kids Dental Group. When a child falls asleep with their baby bottle, whatever they drank will remain on teeth for hours while your baby sleeps, providing food source for acid-producing bacteria. One of the most common complaints we hear from parents is that “my baby will only sleep if I give him/her their bottle”. We understand how hard it is, and at your child’s dental checkup, we can provide helpful tips to avoid the habit of night-time bottle feeding.

  • Breast-feeding on demand

Don’t get us wrong – we are huge fans of breast-feeding. Although breast milk alone does not cause tooth decay, breast milk in conjunction with other carbohydrate containing foods can cause cavities, especially when feeding is frequent.

  • Inadequate brushing and flossing

Your children may not be old enough to do their own brushing and flossing, and they may be missing the hard to reach locations. As a result, plaque remains on the teeth, which can lead to tooth decay.

  • Not getting enough fluoride.

Fluoride helps prevent cavities, and sometimes, it can even reverse the earliest stages of acid damage to teeth. In City of Toronto, Richmond Hill and Markham, fluoride is added to the public water supply. However, fluoride isn’t added to public drinking water in Stouffville. Bottled water and water from reverse osmosis water filters, also do not have adequate levels of fluoride. During your child’s dental cleaning at Kids Dental Group, we apply topical fluoride treatment, which strengthens their enamel to help fight against cavities.

  • Frequent snacking and juice intake

When a child is constantly snacking or drinking juice, the bacteria in their mouth is getting a steady supply of fuel to produce acid that wears away at their teeth. Imagine your child’s teeth bathed in acid all through the day, this surely will increase the chance of them developing cavities.

  • Anatomy and shape of the teeth

Some kids naturally have teeth that have lots of pits and grooves on them. Some grooves and pits are so deep, that they can collect food, making them very hard to clean. Fortunately, there is a solution for that. At our clinic, many patients have sealants, a protective layer over the grooves, placed on their teeth by our experienced staff. Sealants can decrease the rate of cavities on these teeth significantly.


Let’s help your child fight tooth decay together with a few simple steps:

As we mentioned before, your child may not be old enough to brush and floss on their own. Here are some helpful hints to get them started (link to dr. Heder’s blog for 2 for 2 is what we do and why floss)

  • Help your child cut down on snacks and juice

Everything in moderation! We are not saying no treats at all, but a treat is no longer a treat if a child gets it anytime they want.

  • Take your child to their pediatrics dentist every 6 months for cleaning and checkups

Because prevention is the best medicine and your pediatric dentist can help detect cavities before they start hurting your child, and give you helpful individualized tips on how to take care of your child’s teeth. We are happy to have you as part of our Kids Dental Group home.


Does My Child Need to See a Pediatric Dentist?

Does My Child Need to See a Pediatric Dentist?

pediatric dentistWhen you’re taking your toddler to the dentist for the first time, you might wonder if you should visit your general dentist or find a pediatric provider.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists are dentists with an additional 2-3 years of formal education in children’s care techniques. Their training focuses on child-specific treatment methods for infants through adolescents. As such, they’re better equipped to handle conditions such as:

• Behavioural techniques to limit anxiety or fear of the dentist
• Special health concerns in children (such as Down’s syndrome, ADHD, or Autism)
• Interceptive treatments, like space maintainers or help with thumb sucking
• Developmental and restorative concerns of primary (baby) teeth
• Sedation techniques for younger patients

Most family dentists may not have the additional training required to treat children at a young age and restore baby teeth, especially if the child is nervous. Therefore it’s recommended that your child see a pediatric specialist for their care.

Something Your Child Can Look Forward To

Our pediatric dental office is set up in a way that is actually fun for your child to visit. We tailor everything to your child’s comfort level, and use age-appropriate communication to educate your child on caring for his or her smile.

Plus, our office is designed to fit smaller bodies comfortably in our chairs, with plenty of room for mom, dad, and even a stroller.

Creating a positive outlook on dental care is one of the most important steps in encouraging a healthy smile as your child grows up. When he or she actually enjoys visiting the dentist, they look back fondly on the time they spend with us. This also means they won’t be afraid of seeing someone else when they’re grown.

Something for Every Stage of Growth

Whether your child is just now getting their first tooth, or it’s time for your teenager to get braces – Kids Dental Group has everything you need. From check-ups and cleanings to fillings and orthodontics – we’re your family’s comfortable, convenient choice for pediatric care.

Call Kids Dental today to schedule your family’s first visit with our pediatric and orthodontic specialists. We’ll help your child keep his or her smile healthy for life!

Richmond Hill
905 709 3888

905 294 0995

905 642 3642

Why you need to floss your child’s teeth

Why you need to floss your child’s teeth

floss your child’s teeth“It is important to floss your child’s teeth” – many times we have parents who are surprised when we tell them this bit of advice. What we need to remember is that some baby teeth do not fall out until the age of 12, so they are just as important as adult teeth!

Why do we need to floss?

The toothbrush can get to all the surfaces of the teeth, unless teeth are touching each other. Once the teeth are in contact, the brush bristles are not small enough to get to those ‘in between’ areas, and the only way to clean those surfaces is by flossing. This usually occurs anywhere between age 2-4 in back baby teeth, and even earlier in the front. So flossing is just as important as brushing.

How often do we need to floss?

The best way to floss is after each meal, however, with our busy lives, flossing at night during the evening brushing time is good enough. Using floss sticks is much easier for parents then using the string floss.

How do we floss?

The best way is to have a demonstration at the dental office. In general you want to see-saw the floss in below the contact and then pull the floss straight up.

What happens if we do not floss?

Gingivitis and inflammation of dental papilla (bleeding between the teeth) is the most common effect of not flossing. However, it is also common to get cavities between the teeth. These cavities can only be detected with xrays, unless they are already very large.


Is your child brushing their teeth twice a day?

Is your child brushing their teeth twice a day?

Proper brushingBased on the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) only 55-60% of children brush two or more times a day. That means about a half of children out there don’t have proper brushing habits – brushing only once a day or not at all.

Also, only 20-26% brush for 2 minutes! Proper brushing occurs two times a day for two minutes.


We try to go to as many schools and as many classes as we can to teach children when and how to brush. Many can now recite our handy slogan “2 FOR 2 IS WHAT WE DO”.

Here are a few other common things we get asked about:

  • Tooth brushing with an age appropriate tooth brush should start with the eruption of the first tooth.
  • Usually it is also recommended to start using a rice grain size or a smear of fluoride toothpaste at this time as well. This is definitely something to discuss with your dentist at your child’s first visit.
  • We recommend brushing after breakfast and last thing at night.
  • For children that can cough or spit phlegm, a pea size amount of fluoridated toothpaste can be used.
  • Parents should always assist/brush their children’s teeth for them until about age 8 or when they can tie their shoelaces. The best way to know if they are ready to brush on their own is to watch them brush, watch their coordination and if they are actually getting to all the tooth surfaces.

It is important to be mindful of our children’s dental health from an early age and we hope these proper brushing practises have been helpful to you. A check up as early as the age of one is recommended – click here to schedule your child’s very first appointment with us!


What’s the deal with thumb-sucking?

What’s the deal with thumb-sucking?

thumb suckingKids suck their thumbs due to the fact that it’s comforting and calming. Most little ones develop this habit while in the womb, and continue it as an infant. Before you know it, your child is sucking their thumb when tired, scared, bored, sick, etc.

Infants are hard-wired to need and enjoy sucking, even when they aren’t feeding. For some infants this need is much greater than others. Many children discard the habit on their own by their first birthday, when it begins to cause problems is when they continue to suck their thumb beyond four to five years old.

Prolonged thumb sucking may cause the teeth to become improperly aligned, or push the teeth outward. This sometimes will correct itself after the thumb-sucking stops, but the longer it continues, the more likely is that orthodontic treatment will eventually be needed.

Speech problems can also develop with thumb-sucking, such as the child not being able to say T’s and D’s, lisping, and thrusting out the tongue when talking. What many people don’t know is that children can safely suck their thumbs without damaging the alignment of their teeth or jaws until their permanent teeth begin to appear.

Not all thumb-sucking is damaging. Some children intensely suck, thrusting their tongues, that’s what could develop into dental issues down the road. Children who rest their thumbs in their mouth are less likely to have dental problems. It’s important to observe your child’s technique, and determine the intensity of it.

Don’t worry about trying to break the habit when your child is young, but if you begin to notice that their sucking is intensifying, or you notice irregular changes in speech or dental, that’s when you should begin to try and break the habit.

Some ways to begin to crack the habit is by setting rules, or providing distractions to help limit the times or places they are allowed to suck their thumb. You can also put gloves on their hand, or a bandage on their thumb to help remind your child to not suck their thumb. Offer praise and rewards for not thumb-sucking, and make sure to not shame or punish your child if they continue to suck their thumb.

If home treatment doesn’t help break the habit, talk with your child’s doctor or dentist. It is important to keep reminding yourself though that thumb-sucking isn’t a problem in children that are preschool age or younger, most kids will stop on their own if you give them time.

Why age 7 for first orthodontic check up?

Why age 7 for first orthodontic check up?

orthodontic check upYou have brought your child in for their first dental check up, but when is the right time for them to have their first orthodontic check up?

It is recommended that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur no later than age 7 or earlier if there are signs of orthodontic problems. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the best results and the least amount of time and expenses throughout your orthodontic treatment. Many parents believe that there’s no need to see an orthodontist until they are much older and all of their adult teeth have developed, but this is a myth.

Early orthodontic check ups provide timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early detection and treatment can prevent serious problems from happening later on in life. Even if orthodontic treatment isn’t necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development through the early stages of your child’s life and implement treatment if and when it may be necessary.

So why is age 7 the most ideal time for your child’s first ortho checkup? By the time a child is 7, their first molars will erupt, therefore establishing a back bite. Which means an orthodontist can indicate possible overbite, underbite, crowding, or other issues.

There are sometimes signs that your child should receive an orthodontic exam, even if may be before the age of 7. Some of these signs and symptoms may be: early or late loss of teeth, difficulty in chewing, mouth-breathing, finger sucking, crowded teeth, jaw dysfunction, or misaligned teeth. Although these signs may attribute to needing an orthodontic checkup, signs may not be obvious on many children, so it is recommended to schedule an orthodontic checkup whether or not these signs present themselves.

By having your child examined by an orthodontist, they can often reap the benefits by achieving some of these results:

– Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
– Creating facial symmetry by influencing jaw growth
– Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
– Preserving space for teeth that have yet to erupt
– Reducing the need for tooth removal
– Reducing treatment time with braces

Evaluating your child’s teeth at a young age, can decrease the chances of them developing further issues in the future. Mark it on your calendar, and bring your child in by the time they reach their 7th birthday!

When will my child get their first tooth?

When will my child get their first tooth?

teethingTeething or cutting teeth, when should your child expect to get their first tooth?

Just like any other developmental milestone, this is entirely dependent on the child, and cutting teeth isn’t a milestone they will reach all at once. For some it can take years to complete, but eventually your child’s gummy mouth will be transformed into a mouthful of pearly whites.

Rarely a baby is born with a tooth or two, or even grows a tooth within the first few weeks of life. The majority of children develop their first tooth between 4 and 7 months of age, but just like everything else, there are early bloomers and late bloomers. By age three, your child should have a full set of 20 baby teeth.

Your baby may be in pain and drool for a month or two before their first tooth appears. If your baby’s gums are hurting, you can soothe them by massaging them gently with one finger, or giving them something cold to chew on. The pressure of emerging teeth beneath the gums may be relieved by counter pressure, causing the want and need for babies to chew on things.

When your child’s first tooth peaks through, their gums can become inflamed which can cause their cheeks to appear red and swollen, but teething should never cause your baby illness, therefore if your baby does develop a fever or other symptoms, pay a visit to your doctor.

To give you an idea of the average teething timeline for infants, and when to expect certain teeth to appear:

  • 6 months: lower central incisors
  • 8 months: upper central incisors
  • 10 months: lower and upper lateral incisors
  • 14 months: first molars
  • 18 months: canines
  • 24 months: second molars


The development of a first tooth is a big milestone in a child’s life, make sure to monitor the development of each tooth, and if you notice anything abnormal to bring your child in for a visit to your dentist.

What is Xylitol and why is it so important for my child?

What is Xylitol and why is it so important for my child?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including fruits and vegetables.

It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine and is widely used as a sugar substitute and in sugar-free candy and gum. It tastes sweet, but it is not converted in the mouth to acids that cause tooth decay like regular sugar. It is added to some chewing gums, candy, and other oral care products to help prevent tooth decay and dry mouth. It does this by reducing the levels of decay-causing bacteria in your saliva. It also lessens the severity and occurrence of inner ear and sinus infections, especially in children.

At least six grams of xylitol per day is thought to be needed for dental efficacy, so how can you start including it in your child’s daily life?

Maternal Chewing
Xylitol gum is obviously not suitable for very young children, but infants can actually benefit from maternal chewing! Studies show that Mothers who used it several times each day, protected their child from tooth decay until the age of 5! It helped reduce the amount of microorganisms transmitted from Mother to child.

Sugar Substitute
Once a child reaches toddlerhood, xylitol can be consumed as a sugar substitute or as a natural byproduct through eating fruits and vegetables. A sugar substitute can be dissolved in water and drank, or for young infants can be used on a wipe which can be applied to a child’s gums.

Gum and Candy
Older children can reduce the threat of cavities from developing by chewing xylitol gum, such as Trident. Early studies even show that compared to chewing regular sucrose-flavored gum, xylitol resulted in nearly two fewer cavities or missing teeth.

There are also a wide variety of products such as lozenges, and lollipops available that include xylitol. Check out: http://www.xylitolcanada.com/

Incorporating it into your child’s daily life can be easy and can help improve your child’s dental health. For more information on the use of xylitol in your child’s diet, contact your dentist.

Don’t put a hold on your baby’s dental health

Don’t put a hold on your baby’s dental health

baby’s dental healthNew parents often wonder; “when should my child have their first dental checkup?” The answer to this question may be surprising to many, but your child’s first dental appointment is as important of a milestone in your baby’s life as the first hug, or first step.

Taking your first steps for your baby’s dental health

It is recommended that your child visits a pediatric dentist by the age of one. The reasoning for this is that during your child’s first exam, a dentist can check your child’s existing teeth for decay, examine their bite, and look for any potential problems that they may encounter as he or she grows, such as problems with their gums, jaw and/or oral tissues.

There are many common misconceptions many parents have about their child’s first dental visit such as:

• My child doesn’t even have teeth yet
• These are just baby teeth, so it doesn’t matter
• He/she doesn’t have any cavities yet
• They are not going to be able to sit in a chair that long

The goal of your kid’s first dental visit is to educate, prevent, and also create a positive dental experience. At your first visit to the dentist, you can expect to learn more about your baby’s dental health. Your dentist will explore topics with you such as:

• How to maintain healthy gums, teeth and prevent cavities
• Proper use of fluoride for your child
• Developmental milestones
• Oral habits – thumb/finger sucking, lip sucking etc.
• Proper nutrition to aid in a healthy mouth and teeth
• Teething

Why is it so important to bring your 1 year old in for a visit to your dentist? By the time children are 3 or 4 years old, damage can already have begun to affect their overall dental health, which can impact their oral health for years to come. Your child’s baby teeth serve several critical functions in their growth and development, such as permitting proper chewing, aiding speech development, and helping proper development of permanent teeth.

Going to the dentist with your child can be a very positive experience, even at the age of one. One of our goals of is to create a positive experience for your child at their first dental visit, to help create a confident dental patient for years to come because each appointment is just a check up. If you wait to bring your child into the dentist, these positive check up’s can turn into your child having many cavities within their first appointments.

It’s important to understand that taking proper care of baby teeth is just as important as your permanent teeth. Your child’s baby teeth can help aid the development of healthy, cavity-free teeth in the future. Children who have their first preventive dental visit early in life, are more likely to have successful preventive visits and less restorative or emergency visits in the years to come. So plan ahead for your baby’s dental health and make sure you mark your child’s first dental checkup on your calendar!

Kids Dental | Richmond Hill | Markham | Stouffville