Today we have Veena once again joining us in a discussion on “Your child’s first dental visit”.
Welcome & thank you for tuning into our podcast!
Todays topic is for all the new parents out there about your child’s first dental visit. So as a newish parent yourself, Dr Shilpa, how has motherhood been treating you?
Hi Veena! It’s been an amazing journey. I can’t believe how fast my little girl is growing up. She’s a year now. She’s just turned one last week & she’s on the move and been crawling.
It has been an amazing experience and I really am excited to see what is in store for the next 6 months! From the first special smile, first word, first step and of course first tooth that comes through!
Absolutely, those are very special memories! So, when do you recommend parents to bring in their child for the first visit at the Dentist?
I would like to say soon after their first birthday, when that first tooth starts to come in through the gums.
Oh wow! That seems very early. I’m not sure if babies will be willing to sit in the dental chair?
They probably won’t be! Ha ha, but bubs can sit on their parents’ lap. The visit will allow the child to become familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of the dentist.
Oh, I see.
So not only that, it also allows early detection of tooth decay and other dental conditions and gives us an opportunity to provide parents with tips on tooth brushing, good eating habits and how to comfort your baby while he/she is teething.
Wow, that is so much value. I guess it’s never too early to put good habits in place. So, what can parents do to help prepare their child for the first dental visit?
I understand it may seem daunting, especially if parents themselves are anxious about visits to the Dentists themselves. But there are a few things they can do. I encourage bringing a older sibling.
Being positive leading up to the dental visit and combining it with a fun activity afterwards like a trip to the park or having a friend over to play.
Hmm, yes, I guess all these little things add up to creating a good experience.
Absolutely, Veena! You can even take it a step further by arranging for the appointment in the morning so tiredness or hunger is not a problem.
Ha ha, yes that is relevant for some of us adult patients too!
Absolutely, yes, just as we would avoid using scary words such as drill and needle. You can also prepare your child for what to expect by using story books that involve visits to the dentist, bit like Peppa pig goes to the Dentist as so forth.
Lovely! Those are very useful tips! And regular visits to the Dentist to keep on top of dental health is a lot cheaper than neglect of dental problems.
Especially since Medicare provides assistance for basic dental treatment over a two-year period for eligible children between the ages of 2-17 under the CDBS scheme.
Plus, I love how you create such good memories for kids first dental visit by making it special, with glove balloons, handing out stickers & toys as rewards and just getting them so excited that they actually look forward to coming back!
That’s right, Veena. But it does not stop with that first Dental visit. It’s so important to have a good home care regime as well.
Before the teeth start to come in, you want to start cleaning the gums with a clean damp cloth and start brushing with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a very small amount of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) when your child’s first tooth appears.
Use a pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste after 3 years of age. This is when the child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste after brushing their teeth.
Oh, ok. So, when do we encourage children to brush their own teeth?
I would wait till they are 8 and until they are more developed with their dexterity as little hands can be bit tricky to get to their back molars in their mouth.
Do you reckon it’s too early to consider diet for children?
It’s never too early! Don’t give children a bottle of milk, juice, or sweetened liquid at bedtime or when put down to nap. Your child should empty a bottle in 5 to 6 minutes or less.
Limit foods and treats that increase tooth decay. This includes hard or sticky candies, fruit leather, and sweetened drinks and juice. Offer fruit rather than juice.
Amazing. Such simple actions that can have long lasting benefits! Thank you so much for your time today Dr Shilpa to spread awareness to our listeners.
It’s my pleasure, Veena. I will catch you guys again next month. Take care and enjoy your precious moments with your little ones too! Bye now.