Caring for Your Child's Teeth: For Parents & Caregivers of Children Three and Under

An educational CD entitled "How to Take Care of Your Child's Teeth" was created through a partnership between the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport and the British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA). This new teaching tool is intended to help educate parents and caregivers of children three years of age and under about the importance of early dental health care. Developed by dental professionals, the CD and supporting tip sheet and poster, provide valuable information on caring for a child's dental health, when the child's first dental visit should take place, how to prepare a child for the dental visit and understanding what to expect.

Baby teeth play an important role in your child's development. They facilitate chewing, create spaces for the developing adult teeth below, and influence speech development which affects self-esteem and confidence. As parents and caregivers, you play an important role in your child's oral health. Establishing positive dental health care habits early will help to set your child up to maintain healthy teeth for life.

kidsmiles.ca was created by the British Columbia Dental Association, in collaboration with the provincial government, to help parents, guardians and other caregivers learn more about caring for the oral health of young children in BC. Our goal is to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay in this segment of the population.

The Kidsmiles initiative was driven by the number of children aged four and under in British Columbia who are being treated out of necessity in hospital and private facilities under general anesthesia for tooth decay.

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth and certain foods are in contact long enough to allow bacterial by-products to break down the enamel of the primary or "baby" teeth. Without treatment the decay will progress, eventually causing pain and infection.

Early childhood tooth decay is a severe form of decay found in young children. Diets with high sugar content, a high frequency of snacking and/or frequent meals and a sustained use of the baby bottle or sippy cups, as well as a lack of toothbrushing and access to fluoridated water, are contributors to early childhood decay.