Adventure, discovery and play are all likely feature in your little one’s daily life. The last thing on your mind is taking them to the dentist. But, just like you, your baby’s tooth development is just as important as your own. Getting them through the dentist’s door is a milestone in itself!
My little girl experiences the world with pure wonder and joy. Her first time at the dentist was no exception. She welcomed the ‘newness’ of the situation and now steps through the dentist’s door as if she’s at the park!
So, when should you start taking your little one to the dentist? Let’s take a look:
First signs of milk teeth
Dentists are passionate about teeth. It’s their job! As soon as your little one’s first milk tooth makes an appearance, you can get them booked in for their first-ever appointment. Although dental appointments may be difficult to come by for adults, getting your child registered at your local dental practice is much easier than you think.
Ideally a child should make their first visit to the dentist by the age of 1. (Check the BSDHT Dcby1 campaign details for additional info and it would be good to include their logo here as well).
Now, the first appointment is not about your dentist doing any real dental work, it’s more about getting your child to feel comfortable. See it as a fun induction for your child, that will set the tone for the rest of their time in the dentist’s chair. If that sounds intimidating, put your mind at ease. With my little one, the calmer and positive I am about any situation, the more she is too.
How often should I take my little one to the dentist?
As a ballpark, it is recommended that you and your child should visit the dentist every three to twelve months. Like all things, keeping up a routine with your baby’s oral hygiene is as important as your own. With that, the more regularly your child experiences something, the more ‘normal’ it becomes.
Dentists don’t just check to make sure teeth are healthy, they also offer advice on diet, good toothbrushing techniques and can also notice any signs of decay early on. So if you’re struggling to build good oral hygiene habits into your little one’s daily routine, your dentist might just have the answers you need.
Practice good oral hygiene at home
Ok, so we all know that getting your little one into the dentist’s chair is a huge step. But, getting your child into good oral hygiene practices starts at home. If your little one is anything like mine, they watch every move you make, and take in every word you say. As a parent, you can use that to your advantage.
From ‘mirroring’ your movements with a toothbrush to letting your tot brush your teeth, there are many things you can do to get your child on board!
For me and my daughter, we started toothbrushing at bathtime. As soon as my girl could sit up unaided and her first milk tooth had made an appearance, she would play with her toothbrush in the bath. There she got use to the sensation, the weight of it, and that toothbrushes are for tooth brushing!
As she developed into a toddler, with more and more teeth coming through, working up to the recommended twice a day brushing, became less of a novelty and more of a challenge. Enter the strong-willed toddler! This fun loving mama, turned into the toothbrushing militia overnight!’
With children, nothing is a ‘one size fits all’. But, once you and your little one are in sync with each other and have reached an understanding, magic truly happens.
Method over madness
Toothbrushing can be an enjoyable experience, and it needs to be for your little one.. To prevent tooth decay and poor oral hygiene practices, getting your tot used to brushing their teeth early on, is your best defence against future problems.
Like I mentioned above, toothbrushing needs to be a fun, enjoyable experience and you know what makes your child ‘tick’. So, play to their strengths and to your own. Sing their favourite song, make one up to brush their teeth to, or get their favourite toys involved. Whatever makes your child feel happy, will usually make them more willing to co-operate.
Believe me, if my little girl feels at ease and confident in her surroundings, she is more keen to get involved. Sounds like a good way to make the dentist experience more comfortable too, right?
Going to the dentist is a special milestone in your little one’s life. It marks the moment where their physical development meets their understanding of the world. So, let’s make it fun, positive and calm!