What Are The Do’s And Don’ts?
In this day and age, there are literally thousands of people willing to dish out their advice when it comes to parenting. Teeth is only a very small part of the parenting process, so please do not worry if you don’t have all of the answers and don’t beat yourself up when it comes to infant dental care.
Simply stated, here are eight recommendations for infant dental care:
- Don’t let your child go to sleep with a bottle
Letting a child fall asleep with a bottle can cause serious tooth decay in their baby teeth, due to the sugar content in both milk and juice. It can also lead to middle ear infections, as the liquid can drain from the back of their throat into their Eustachian tube, spreading bacteria.
- Use an orthodontic dummy/pacifier
Nothing is more debilitating than a screaming baby, so I get that in some cases, a dummy can be soul saving (yours, not theirs). It is important to be aware of the physical problems associated with dummy use. They increase the likelihood of ear infections, similarly to above, the sucking action allows saliva to drain into the middle ear, taking all the bacteria in there with it. Prolonged and excessive dummy use can warp the formation of your baby’s mouth. The pressures involved in sucking a dummy can lead to a deformed palate and upper jaw (similarly to thumb sucking). If you are going to incorporate dummies, please use specialised orthodontic dummies and try to wean your bubba off of them around 1yr of age to prevent more issues.
- Pick your battles when it comes to tooth brushing
Tooth brushing can be a daily struggle with your infant. It is good to start brushing their teeth from when they first erupt. Use a soft bristled, very small head brush and do what you can. Infant compliance is so varied from day to day, some days will be easy, others not so much. Do you what you can. If your child doesn’t like toothpaste, don’t bother about it, leave it off. But get a toothbrush in there, every morning and every night and do your best.
- Watch out for hidden dietary sugars
Big companies are spending more and more money on marketing campaigns to get you to buy their foods/drinks/products. The world of consumerism is growing and with today’s competitive market, there are lots of hidden truths when it comes to foods and drinks. Make sure you read the labelling carefully and if in doubt, check the table on the back of the label for the nutritional content, mainly SUGAR. Safest option is to avoid all fizzy drinks and cordials, limit fresh fruit juices and stick to water. When it comes to snacks, try to keep it savoury and fresh. The patterns your child develops while they are young are important in maintaining their dental health throughout their childhood. It is very hard to break a bad dietary habit.
- Start bringing your child to the dentist at 3yrs old
By the age of 3, your child will be walking, talking, enquiring about EVERYTHING and well on the way to developing their own personality. Their emotional intelligence, motor development and vision are at their peak growth stages and their thinking skills are on the brink of erupting. Bringing your child in with you from this age, helps introduce them to the dental environment at a very important stage in their growth and development. They are old enough to follow basic instructions, but impressionable enough to copy your response to the situation. They will be ultra-sensitive to your vibe, so if you have a dental phobia or petrified yourself, maybe let hubby/wife/sister/grandparent bring them in. They will feed off of your energy enormously. I usually start with a very basic examination and introduction and as time goes on, add a little more each time. Doing it this way, your child gets used to the weird smells, strange looking people in gloves/masks and it shows them that it’s a normal part of life.
- Falls, Knocks and Bumps
Children are bound to have an incident that gives their newly erupted baby teeth a bit of a clunk at some stage. Don’t panic, bring them in straight away and let the dentist assess the damage. Majority of the time, there is no actual treatment or procedure, it is just making an accurate note of the incident, letting you know what to look out for and reassuring you and your child. In severe cases of trauma, use your judgement and take your child to the hospital.
- Use us to help you at home
When bringing your child to the dentist, give us a quick brief on any concerns, problems, troubles you are having with your child beforehand. That way, when you both come in, we will be able to re-inforce brushing, problem solve issues and encourage your child (a little story telling goes a long way) to make your life easier. I’m on your side, use me as much as you need to make your everyday simpler. This can also apply to other family members, but you didn’t hear it from me…
- Ask questions
If you have any questions/concerns about your child’s dental care, contact us and come in for a quick consult with your child for your own peace of mind. I am always happy to fit in concerned parents, as the majority of the time, it is just a quick explanation and some reassurance. Parenting is difficult enough as it is, without having the added worry about your child’s dental care.