Victoria Wilson, Dental Hygienist at Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinic talks to us about the importance of looking after our kid’s teeth and what we need to know to maintain their healthy smiles.
At what age should kids first come to see a dentist or hygienist?
It is recommended that kids visit the dentist or hygienist just after their first birthday, providing their teeth have come through at this point. The appointment is really just to familiarise children with the dental environment - we speak to parents about proper brushing and a healthy diet and the dentist or hygienist does a simple examination. It is important for children to get into good habits early to avoid any problems later.
When do kids need to be booked with a hygienist as opposed to the dentist?
The hygienist will focus on education, oral health and prevention while the dentist gives a more detailed examination to check all of the teeth. It is advisable that children visit the dental hygienist every six months to help prevent needing any treatment later. If any treatment is required it is less likely to be a problem if detected early.
How do you deal with kids who might be frightened to come to the surgery?
It is a priority at Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinic that all of our patients, regardless of age, have a positive experience when they come to the clinic. If a child (or adult!) is frightened we do everything we can to alleviate their concerns and fears.
How should parents clean very small children’s teeth?
We recommend that parents use a children’s toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (Biorepair Junior is what we use). Start by letting your child hold and play with the toothbrush – this helps them get into the habit of brushing themselves before parents brush their teeth. It is important to brush at least twice per day - first thing in the morning and last thing at night and to avoid eating or drinking anything other than water right before bed.
At what age should kids be able to brush their own teeth?
Playing with the toothbrush from an early age has proven to be very effective in teaching children to brush themselves. Then when parents brush it is not so strange for the child to have a toothbrush in their mouth. By the age of six or seven kids will be more independent, but parents will still need to check the back teeth that are coming through to make sure they are being cleaned properly.
How can I encourage my kids to brush their teeth and make sure they are doing it properly?
Kid’s toothbrushes with a timer are a great and fun way to teach children to brush properly – some even come with a brushing song. You can also download a great App called ‘Brush DJ’ that allows you to save songs and time the brushing.
Do my kids need to floss their teeth?
The earlier children are given floss the better, especially if teeth are close together and could collect food between them. We recommend that you floss your children’s teeth from about six years of age to keep gums and teeth healthy and avoid any dental treatment.
What should I look for when finding a dental surgery for my family?
You should look for a surgery that is friendly, comfortable and meets your expectations. It is very important for you and your family to feel confident and relaxed when visiting the dentist and hygienist.
Is thumb sucking bad for kids teeth?
Thumb sucking can affect teeth more than using a pacifier. However, as long as they can stop the habit at around five years of age, it shouldn’t affect the alignment of the teeth too much as the jaw is still developing.
How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride since we don’t drink the tap water here?
It is important that children use a fluoride toothpaste - we use Aquafresh kids from two years up as kid’s toothpastes have a smaller amount of fluoride in them. At the age of six kids can start using an adult toothpaste with fluoride and a fluoride mouthwash. Using fluoride is important as it can help prevent cavities and even stop a cavity from progressing. It is important to spit out all the excess toothpaste after brushing to avoid swallowing it and to get the benefit of the fluoride, don’t rinse with water.
What can I do to help prevent tooth decay in my kids?
Your children need to brush their teeth twice a day, limit sugary foods and drinks to meal times, avoid carbonated drinks and make sure you take them to the dentist or hygienist every six months for check-ups. Also stick to water and low sugar snacks between meal times - celery, cheese, cucumber, apples, carrots etc are all good choices. If you help your child start off with good oral health habits when they are young, they will find it much easier to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.
Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinic, 747 Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 2, www.dradubai.com (04 388 1313).