Dr. Baergen Explains Children’s Dental Habits


Smiling little boy sitting next to a laughing little girl

What delights me as a dentist?  Children who floss!

I learned to floss as an adult and it was a chore for me for years.  As a dentist I have to floss because my hygienist will know if I don’t, and I see what happens in the mouths of non-flossers.  I wish I had grown up flossing.  I see 5-year olds who floss regularly and it is no big deal to them because it is routine.  I promise you, train your child to floss young and it sticks.

Now, I know there are many battles to tackle as a parent and flossing may seem pretty low on the priority list.  It takes determination, but the reward is bigger than you think. Going to the dentist is not a chore.  The dental assistant praises them and they like the attention, and they get a prize. When you train your child to floss you give yourself a gift of no stress at the dentist.

Why do I need crowns instead of fillings?  It started when I was young.

Your teeth age with you.  If they weren’t perfect when you were a child you will pay for it all your life.  I had 8 fillings in my mouth before I was 16 years old.  Now in my mid-years, the dental work I need is all about maintaining those teeth. Fillings don’t last forever – some year they will need replacing.  Over time  the adjacent teeth ages and cracks faster than healthy teeth, so a chunk of tooth can break off.  A filling won’t work any more.  Now a crown is needed to surround and support the tooth.  As an adult I wish I had taken care of my teeth when I was in school because those teeth are the ones needing crowns now.

Teaching your children to brush and floss every night will give them the gift of less dental work all their lives. As soon as your children can hold a toothbrush, it’s time to start watching their dental care techniques. Here are some tips on how to promote good oral health at a young age, to build life long habits:

  • Show them that you take care of your teeth. It is important for your child to watch you take good care of your teeth. Leading by example is a great way to show them how you take care of your teeth.
  • Empower them in the process: Let them pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste. This makes them more excited about brushing their teeth with their favorite characters or a colorful toothbrush!
  • Teach about “rotten teeth”: Not to say, scare your children into good oral hygiene, but let them know the consequences of not taking care of their teeth in a way they can comprehend.
  • Teach proper techniques: Spend time with your kid which they brush to make sure they are doing it correctly. Sometimes doing it with them makes it a fun activity instead of a boring task.

Set them up for success, good habits will save them in the long run from needing a lot of dental work in future!

I’m Dr. Carolyn Baergen of South Edmonton Common, and I am accepting children and families just like you. Let’s work together on building a life long strategy for your children’s optimum oral health! Request an Appointment with me today!




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