We found out we could see a (nominated) dentist and be completely covered by our health fund so we started going to Dental on Beaumont and seeing Dr Hetal Shah. We absolutely love her. She recommended getting Charlie to come in for a check-up before he turned one. Charlie got his first two teeth at 2 and a half months old so I agreed it was great idea to get them checked, (also helped that our insurance covered the whole thing). I didn't know how he would react to having someone go in his mouth but he didn't mind. I really think he loved the blue gloves and Dr Shah's friendly, gentle approach.
Here are 5 tips to think about when it comes to your child's dental health:
1. Take you baby to the Dentist in their first year or 6 months after their first tooth eruption. Charlie was still having night milk feeds until May, and I was concerned about the chances of him getting ECC (Early Childhood Caries). ECC is caused by sugar in their diet, this can be from breast milk, formula, cordial or juices. It was reassuring to know that Charlie is not showing signs of this. ECC can lead to those grayish front teeth you see some kids with, or infection, and early tooth loss.
Dr Shah was able to give me good ideas on how to avoid ECC. One of which was giving Charlie a drink of water right after a milk feed, and limit sugary foods and drinks. Babies do not need to be having juice!!! There's no nutritional reason for it. And babies and toddlers only know about a food or juice because it's been introduced to them, in other words what they don't know about they won't beg for in future. Stick to milk and water as long as you can. Dr. Shah did tell me that Charlie can have fresh veg/fruit juices from the juicer at home because they have none of the added sugars in them, and they are pretty healthy, but she did stress that we still need to rinse his mouth afterwards by giving him sips of water.
2. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age means the dentist can check for any tooth development issues. Like in most things, catching a problem early can prevent further issues, and more issues will likely mean a bigger dentist bill down the road.
3. Brush your baby's teeth every night with a SOFT baby toothbrush, and as they get a full set make that a morning and night routine. In our house brushing teeth still sounds like murder. We have found that sticking a thumb or index finger on the side of the mouth helps reveal the teeth so we can get at them, and get it over with sooner. Honestly, it's hard with all the flailing and screaming but it must be done. We have two made-up teeth brushing songs for this "event" as well. One of them goes "We brush our teeth - Chhhh-ch-che ch-che che che (*tooth brushing sound)" and the other one is "this is how we brush our teeth on a Tuesday night (*insert any night of the week you fancy)"
4. Show them how it's done. Be a good example and brush (and floss) your teeth in front of your baby or toddler. And give them their toothbrush so they can have a go while you're busy brushing your teeth. Charlie really likes having control of his brush while we are brushing. He hasn't a clue what he's doing except that the brush goes in the mouth, and that's a start.
5. Make sure you have age appropriate toothpaste. Yes, there's such thing as baby toothpaste, it's not just marketing. This toothpaste is fluoride free, they shouldn't be using fluoride toothpastes until 18 months, and then they can use child strength tooth paste until age 6.