Child Dental Health
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
We believe that a child's first dental visit should be before their 1st Birthday. This is in line with Irish, US and UK guidelines. The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry run a campaign along these lines where they actively campaign to try to have more children seen younger. In Ireland the average age to see the dentist for the first time is aged eight. This is years after the teeth have come through, some baby teeth have come and gone by this point. www.dentalcheckbyone.co.uk
Your 1st visit to the dentist will be very straightforward. As well as a simple and straight forward examination, which can be done on Mum or Dads lap, we can discuss nutrition, oral hygiene and tooth eruption times. We can help you with tactics for teething problems and we can start to build a relationship with you and your baby.
Use a gauze or a small soft brush to clean after feedings or at bedtime.
When transitioning from exclusive breastfed to either soft foods, mixed bottles or formulas it is important to understand many of these will contain sugars that can also to harm your babies teeth.
6 Months to 1 Year
When the first teeth erupt book your 1st dental checkup with Dr. Sarah or Dr. Will.
As they get older watch them carefully at playtime and get their teeth checked if the stumble or bang their mouths.
Brush teeth after feeding and at bed time.
Don't be disheartened if the tooth brushing causes friction, or there are a few tears. The teeth are a valuable gift and are worth the trouble. Relax, and take a quick break and try again. Establishing a routine early is vital.
Do not put your child to bed with a bottle or a sippy cup this can lead to problems with extensive decay of the front teeth. If they absolutely must go to be with a bottle make sure it is only water.
Try not to get started on juices or squash or any flavourings for their water. They don't need it. If they do have juice or squash, we need to be aware that they often contain very high levels of added or natural sugar, on the ingredients these can often be seen as fructose, corn syrup, sucrose, agave syrup, glucose, maltose. (The list of hidden sugars is endless)
In Ireland the recommendation is that under 2 years old don't use toothpaste. You should just be using a toothbrush, from aged 2 as well as introducing a smear of fluoride toothpaste, now is also the age to introduce flossing, if any teeth erupt that are touching they will need to be flossed by you. The idea of a two year old being flossed is only strange because it is so alien to us. Only 50% in Ireland floss on a regular basis. By aged 6 they will have the skills to to handle this themselves.
The best way for you to floss an toddlers teeth, or for a beginner flosser to manage it themselves is not to even bother with the fiddly dental floss, but to buy a pack of floss harps. They are easier to manage in little hands, or big hands trying to get into a little mouth.
Not everybody suffers the weeks of grizzling that is heard of when the new teeth are cutting through. Some babies will just sprout a tiny white gem on their bottom jaw without any fuss at all. Most will suffer some discomfort though. This could manifest as an increase in drool, they could be off their food a little, they could suffer with a lot more restlessness at night and difficulty getting off to sleep during the day leading to tiredness and irritability.
Dodies and Thumb sucking
Pacifiers, dummies or dodies depending on where in the world you are from, and thumb sucking are a perfectly normal comfort reflex for a young child. It provides comfort and helps them to settle. Most kids will grow out of this before they are 4. If the habit persists, Sarah or Will will be able to discuss tactics for helping to sort this issue before the development of dental or jaw abnormalities that can result from prolonged thumb sucking.
All of these conversations and issues would have been missed if the first time we are seeing you is when they are eight years old. We have a huge knowledge when it comes to dietary advice, we have a detailed knowledge of all of the dental tooth care products on the market, and we have a lot of experience in helping to guide your child's dental development in their early years. Come in before their 1st Birthday, and we will talk all this through with you.
Let us know when is a good time for you. After a nap, after a feed, whenever suits, but we will try to organise the appointment for a time when we are likely to get the most out of it. Not when baby is starting to get weary or irritable. If the 1st visit doesn't go according to plan, we will just reschedule and try again another day. We want to get your child's dental health off to the great start they deserve.