When should you first take your kids to the dentist? Well, ours are 18 and 21 months and we took them for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It’s hard enough to get a tooth brush in their mouths so in all honesty, we were trying to put it off for as long as possible. But we didn’t realise the importance of taking them from such a young age, and it turned out that it was nowhere near as bad as we thought it’d be…
We remember the dentist being a really scary, odd smelling place when we were younger but we took the babes to Dawood and Tannerwhere they couldn’t have been more kid-friendly towards these first timers. Here, they had a library of books in the waiting room (Peppa Goes to the Dentist went down a treat), colouring in books and neon sunglasses for the kids to prance about in not to mention really great baby changing facilities. Another thing worth noting is that it’s a 5 minute walk from Baker Street tube and close to hundreds of bus stops, plus the surgery has giant double doors so there’s no palava with the buggy (they’ve really thought of everything) I mean, who wouldn’t have a great time…
If you have a phobia of the dentist yourself and have been putting off the first visit, we totally recommend a trip here. And if like us, you’re just too lazy/don’t have enough time to put yourself through the impending trauma of the first visit then honestly, it’s not that bad. What we learnt was that it’s more important to get your kid used to visiting the dentist and knowing that it’s not a horrific experience . Dr Saul Konviser taught us never to say, "it won’t be scary, it won’t hurt" as they will only pick up on the negative words. Instead just say, "we’re going to the dentist and it’s going to be fun!" Getting them used to it when they’re younger will make it so much easier to take them when they’re older.
The experience was also educational for us – we both now have a new teeth cleaning regime, learnt exactly how and when to floss (once a day, better in the evening) and we learnt the importance of a dental check up – which Gemma had put off for 3 years…
While we were there we asked the General Dental Practitioner, Dr Saul Konviser, a whole load of questions that we thought we’d share with you. We know you’re short on time but we found the below genuinely fascinating so it’s worth a read.
PS: Don’t wear red lipstick when visiting the dentist as once your teeth have been checked it resembles a bleeding mouth which will scare the crap out of your kid!!
When should you first take your baby to the dentist?
Going to the dentist should be a fun experience for a child, we want to avoid any negative memories for them so the earlier they start attending the better. It doesn’t matter if it’s just for a balloon or stickers at first, we just want your kids to be happy to attend the dentist for their check-ups. We don’t want their first visit to be for a filling or at worst an extraction, it can put them off for life. Age two to two-and-a-half is probably the best age to visit the dentist for a proper check up but it will be really helpful to bring them earlier like Belle & Leo, so they will get used to the environment. This will also help the parents help the kids to look after their teeth.
If you can only remember to brush your kids teeth once a day then what is more important, AM or PM?
Some things are just non-negotiable and tooth brushing is one of them. We want the kids to develop good healthy habits from early on. Always try to brush their teeth twice a day, especially last thing at night before bed and one other time – ideally in the morning after breakfast. Never allow a child to walk around while brushing their teeth, if they were to fall the brush can cause serious injury.
I’m a father of two and even as a dentist, it really can be a thankless task with kicking and screaming at the end of a long day and I’ve had bite marks to prove it, but they’ll soon get over it. Until children have the skills to brush properly on their own (usually around the age of seven) we still need to help them, I always let my kids start brushing first then repeat it afterwards to show them how it’s done properly. We play games, have fun with coloured toothbrushes, I let them try brush my teeth and we even make up a competition to see who is going to be first to let me brush their teeth. Kids love to be competitive.
When it comes to kid’s toothpaste, does it matter what you use?
There are many different brands on the market but what’s most important is that your child is using a toothpaste with fluoride in it. Up to the age of 3 years old we only need a smear of toothpaste with 1000ppm Fluoride content (always check the label) but thereafter a pea size amount with more than 1000ppm Fluoride is just fine. When they are old enough, encourage them to spit out the excess toothpaste and avoid rinsing as this washes all the good bits in the toothpaste off our teeth – this applies to adults also!
When we were pregnant, our gums bled a lot which shocked us. What’s normal when it comes to teeth and pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, it’s really important to continue with your regular check-ups as things really can change during this time. With the hormonal changes and day to day stresses of life, pregnancy can be quite damaging to our oral health, most notably to the gums. It’s extremely common for pregnant women to notice a sudden increase in bleeding gums during pregnancy as certain hormones can cause inflammation which result in more bleeding. The bleeding is often made worse if the mouth is not kept clean.