When we are waiting on those little bundles of joy to arrive, time feels like time stands still, and you might, in fact, be pregnant forever, but as soon as they come along, the time will never move faster. Blink twice, and those babies will be growing hair, running around, and flashing you tiny pearly whites. Before you know it, you start wondering when you should have been brushing teeth and when you should begin seeing a Dentist. So, where do you start? Right here on Parents Guide Illawarra, we will give you the scoop on what you should be doing and where to connect with exceptional professionals to start your children’s dental care the right way.
When should you get started?
For most babies, teeth start making their way through the gums between 6 and 10 months of age, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start prepping them for brushing earlier. Once your little one hits the 3-month mark, you can begin gently wiping their gums with a clean, damp washer cloth to prepare them for the sensation of teeth brushing in the months ahead. Be sure to only dampen the cloth with water; no toothpaste for now. As many children don’t like the feeling of a toothbrush in their mouth, some parents recommend getting them familiar with this sensation early on.
Once you have endured all those sleepless nights and that long-awaited first tooth appears, you might be surprised to know that experts recommend getting started right away. You can begin to clean teeth as they emerge using a special, soft infant toothbrush; these are made just for kids under the age of 2, keeping them soft and small for little mouths. Keep up that cloth or baby brush with nothing but H20 until they are around 18 months old or your Dentist directs you otherwise.
When should you see a dentist?
Anytime from that first tooth popping up and twelve months of age is an excellent time to see a dentist. Not only will they help to take the best care of your baby’s teeth, the earlier they experience visiting a dentist, the less they will be bothered by it in the future. Creating strong dental care routines early in life is a fabulous way to keep them on track for a lifetime of good dental practices. From your first appointment, the Dentist will be able to let you know how frequently you should return.
Where to see a Dentist in the Illawarra?
We are so lucky to have many options for fantastic dentists in the Illawarra and Wollongong regions. If you are looking for a family-friendly specialist, have a look at a few of the ones below who might be able to help:
- Vantage Dental, Wollongong – Child and family friendly dentists – Dr Ana Butragueno, Dr Anna Clark and Dr Renae Piucco
- CBD Dental, Wollongong – CBD dental where your family’s oral health is our first priority.
- Dapto Dentists – Family owned and operated, Quality & Affordable Dentists.
- Woonona Dentists – As a family-owned local dental practice, we are committed to provide essential dental care services.
- Illawarra Paediatric Dentistry – Our team strives for positive dental experiences as we maintain your child’s oral health through preventive dentistry and treatment when required.
- New Smile Dental – New Smile Dental provides high quality dental care for all your family dental needs.
Need more options in your area? Please have a look at our complete list of dental services by clicking here.
How often should our kids visit the Dentist?
Most dental professionals recommend visiting for a checkup every 6 – 12 months. However, as your children are growing, a higher frequency might be required to keep an eye on development and get ahead of any problems you may encounter. In between visits, be sure to help your child with brushing. For a visual guide to brushing teeth for kids 0 – 8 years old, visit the Raising Children website here.
How to help children with sensory challenges or additional needs
If your child is working through sensory challenges, having a toothbrush in their mouth can be something that brings them pain or even fear. If you are working through additional challenges with your child, you might find that all hell breaks loose when brushing teeth time in the morning and evening rolls around. Lucky for us, Erin at The Sensory Studio in Fairy Meadow stocks a wide range of products for sensory needs, including specialty toothbrushes in different shapes and textures, as well as chewable items that can improve your child’s tolerance for oral care.
If you are on the lookout for other kid-friendly health practitioners in the Illawarra, check out our Family Health list of local professionals providing services to kids and families in our region – CLICK HERE.