When Should You First Bring Your Child To The Dentist? The Answer May Surprise You
When it comes to the health of your child’s milk teeth, it’s never too early to get them started on the journey to excellent oral hygiene. Like many other parenting topics, mums and dads are bombarded with a lot of contradictory advice and misconceptions about their baby’s teeth and dental care. Read on as we debunk a few common baby teeth myths and learn the importance of visiting a good paediatric dentist early.
After weeks of watching your little one drool, fuss, and chew on anything his tiny hands could grab onto, you finally spot that first tooth sprouting from the gums. Dr Tabitha Chng, Paediatric Dentist from Thomson Specialist Dentistry shares that while the first tooth erupts around the age of 6 months on average, eruption ages can vary widely with some infants even being born with teeth!
Even at such a young age, dental issues, such as tooth decay, are no small matter. A rapid form of tooth decay known as early childhood caries (ECC) is the most common chronic infectious disease among children1. Although it compromises the health, development and quality of life of children both in the short and long term, the great news is: it’s almost 100% preventable.
Here’s what you need to know to keep tooth decay at bay.
Myth 1: Baby teeth don’t matter
Even though Junior’s first set of teeth are temporary, his general health can be affected if they are not taken care of. Strong and healthy baby teeth are essential in the proper chewing of food. It also helps your child to learn to speak clearly and plays a big part in guiding adult teeth into alignment.
Tip: Choose healthy food and drinks that do not contain lots of sugar, such as fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary drinks and juices, cookies and fruit snack bars as they contribute to cavities and tooth decay.
Myth 2: There’s no need to brush your baby’s teeth
As reported by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), over 40% of children have tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten.
Brushing early not only lays a solid foundation for optimum oral health; it also removes food particles trapped between teeth, thus preventing needless tooth decay in babies.
Tip: Getting your child used to the cleaning sensation can start even before teeth emerge, according to Dr Chng. Wrap a moist clean cloth or gauze around your clean finger, and wipe your baby’s gums and tongue after feeds. This removes milk residues from the mouth. Once teeth emerge, use an age-appropriate soft-bristled toothbrush and begin brushing!
Myth 3: My kids don’t need to see a dentist until they are older
Baby teeth are susceptible to tooth decay from their very first appearance. That’s why, parents, it is time to schedule regular visits with a good paediatric dentist within six months after your child’s first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday.
You will be setting up your child for a lifetime of positive dental experiences, and in turn, establish great oral hygiene practices – which Junior will be grateful for later in life!
Here are 5 tips for your child’s first dental visit:
- Pick a time of the day when your child is alert and well-rested.
- Build excitement. Let your child bring along a favourite toy, or pick out their favourite outfit for the visit.
- Read a book about a visit to the dentist before the appointment.
- Use positive words to avoid creating unnecessary fear.
- Parents, be relaxed and breathe. Let your paediatric dentist guide you through the first visit.
What should you be looking for in a paediatric dentist?
Parents, a visit to the dentist can be a great and fun experience for both you and your child. Watch the video below to know what you should expect on your child’s first visit with a paediatric dentist at Thomson Specialist Dentistry.
On top of providing a kid-friendly, supportive and engaging environment that make parents and children feel at ease, you will also be able to find:
- High-quality services provided by a team of dedicated paediatric dentists specialising in comprehensive oral healthcare for infants right through to adolescence. It includes those with special healthcare needs.
- Multiple experts and specialists in the same centre, enabling excellent treatment by doctors who are passionate about their chosen specialities. They include preventive dental and therapeutic dental services.