As hard as you try to curb the kiddos’ sugar intake, it seems like dentist visits only get more frequent as the months tick on! With your littlies smile on the line, it’s best to go with a dentist you can trust – which is why we headed over to Dr Michaels Dental Clinic, a pediatric dentistry packed full of amenities and know-how for tiny teeth. Their team took time out of their busy schedules to teach us how to make sure the kids’ gnashers stay pearly white…
When should I start brushing my little one’s teeth?
Cleaning your young one’s mouth and gums should start early. From birth, you can clean your child’s gums with a soft, clean wash cloth and water. You should start brushing using a soft infant toothbrush as soon as the first tooth erupts.
What toothpaste should I use?
Parents should use a tiny smear (like the size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts until the child turns three. For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
How can I get my child to open its mouth?
Play copycat! Toddlers naturally love to mimic and use this to get him to open his mouth. Bring your little one into the bathroom and while the two of you are facing the mirror, show him how you open your mouth wide. Exaggerate and with a funny, sing-songy voice, tell him this is how his favorite cartoon character cleans his teeth.
Is it bad that my child is a late developer in the tooth department?
Tooth development varies from child to child. If your child’s a little late, it’s not necessarily an indication that there are problems in his overall health. Usually, the first tooth comes through between 6 to 10 months, but sometimes it shows up a little later. If he reaches his first birthday without a tooth in sight, consult a pediatric dentist.
When would you advise a first trip to the dentist?
Our specialist pediatric dentist Dr. Chantal Kengo’s best advice for parents is to bring their children to the dentist early – first tooth, first visit!
What should I expect on the first trip to the dentist with my child?
During your child’s first visit, the dentist will check and examine his teeth for problems such as tooth decay and habit-related issues like thumb or finger sucking. This is also the time when parents are educated on proper gum and tooth care, nutrition and the right brushing techniques.
My little one sucks her thumb; will this affect her teeth and what can I do?
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children and generally the habit stops between the ages two and four years old. This is only a problem if it goes on for a while. If your child is still sucking his thumb when his permanent teeth have erupted, we recommend that you take him to a pediatric dentist.
I can’t get my baby to stop using a pacifier, is this going to be a problem?
Like thumb sucking, pacifiers can pose a problem if it goes on for a long time and even more so when the permanent teeth are out. To wean your child from the pacifier, limit its use to naptime or during stressful times like vaccinations or swap it for a special toy. Weaning may take time, but starting early is the key. It’s also good to note that punishment is not an effective way to stop the habit. It is likely that your child will put it aside at school age because of peer pressure.
Is giving sweets to your child a complete no no? There are so many parties and I don’t want to be the overprotective mother and not let my toddler join in…
It’s important for parents to instil a healthy diet among their children. If you are to allow your kids to have sweets or chocolates, be sure to give it to them with their main meals and never as a go-to snack. As with proper nutrition, effective and regular oral hygiene can help protect your child’s teeth from decay.
What are the best ways to sooth a teething child?
You can apply gentle pressure to their baby’s sore gums using a clean finger to ease the pain. You can offer chilled teethers, fruits or a clean, cold washcloth for your baby to gnaw on. You can also ask your pediatrician for OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen to ease your child’s pain and discomfort. Remember to read the product labeling fully to make sure you’re giving your child the right medicine and the right dose.
Phew! We definitely feel a little more prepared for the dentist’s chair. If you like what you’ve heard and you’d like to book an appointment with the pediatric specialists at Dr. Michael’s Children’s Dental Clinic, ring (+971)(0)43 397 700. You can also visit their website. Keep on smiling, mamas!
Dr Michael’s Children’s Dental Clinic, Villa 1020 Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 1, P.O. Box 213720, Dubai, see other locations here, (+971)(0)43 397 700, www.drmichaels.com