The secret of looking after a young child’s teeth

Dr. Carol L Thorpe’s Coquitlam dentistry practice encourages parents to bring in their children to the dentist early in life. Many of her patients are the grandchildren of patients she’s been seeing during her 31 years in practice.

“It’s very important that we see children when they’re very young,” she explains. “Our youngest patients are about one year-old. We want to make sure they have magical and fun visits before they ever need any dental work done.”

Parents bring their children to Dr. Thorpe’s dentistry practice for check-ups and for advice on preventing tooth decay.

“At a very young age, it’s about sitting on Mom’s lap while I check their mouth for a short time to get them used to the process. I check on any issues that might be developing, such as nursing bottle tooth decay.”

Dr. Thorpe notes that unfortunately she still sees a lot of tooth decay developing in children, even children who have only ever been fed breast milk due to the sugar that’s present in the milk.

“The thing to remember,” Dr. Thorpe says, “ is that it’s the amount of time the sugar is in the mouth that causes the decay, not necessarily the amount of sugar or refined foods your child has. For example, a nursing bottle of milk before bed is just fine. But putting your child into bed with a bottle with the milk trickling into their mouth during the night, that’s the issue. The constant wash of sugar from the milk is what causes the decay.”

When a child is diagnosed with tooth decay, the parents feel terrible, Dr. Thorpe says. Her dental practice not only treats the child but also helps the parents understand that it’s not all their fault.

“Parents do their best, but unfortunately, tooth decay happens,” she says. “It’s difficult brushing a three year-old’s teeth. And flossing is even more of a challenge. I can help parents with that challenge with some tips and by reinforcing to the child that it’s very important that Mom or Dad brush and floss their teeth. I try to help parents address those issues early in their child’s life.”

For more information on Dr. Carol L. Thorpe and taking care of your child’s teeth, or to book an appointment, call the office at 604.552.9500, check the website, send them an email, or visit the office at #121, 3030 Lincoln Avenue, Coquitlam.

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