At what age will you send your child in for a dental visit? Every one I know suggested a visit when something crops up or when the child goes to Primary School where there’s a school dentist available. How bad can baby teeth get? Anyway, they will all drop out and make space for adult teeth. So does it really matter?
I mentioned to some that SingHealth advises that it is best to take our children to the dentist when they are between 6 to 12 months of age. In return, I got laughter of disbelief and they must be wondering, “What? To the dental chair to check 4 sprouting teeth?” To be honest, I wondered loudly the same question too.
Still, we decided to bring Ewan in for a field trip to a dentist at 19 months. It could be a fun experience and one that might kick-start him to a set of healthy primary teeth. We preferred Ewan’s first dental visit to be pleasant and not anxiety-producing. Going to see the dentist only when he has problems does not allow this. Meyer and I both had bad experiences with our dentists because we were put in the chair only when we had issues. It was a painful experience. Till today, we steer clear of the 6 months regular check ups and if we could, probably see one only when another problem arises. Yet, we must be mindful not to share our fear to Ewan lest he picks up the fear from us. In fact, we should teach by example and have our teeth checked every 6 months when we bring him in.
Yesterday, I read in March 2014’s Mother & Baby issue about a mother’s shocking find when she brought her 3 year old for her first dental visit. Her daughter had two cavities. She hardly ever drinks juices or eat candies. They brush religiously in the morning and at night. Then they realised the problem was breastfeeding. She was nursed till 2 and would often fall asleep on the breast at night. This is an example of why we should safeguard our peewee’s pearlies. Tooth decay and cavities can strike as soon as those first baby teeth erupt.
We made an appointment at GPA Dental Services (United Square) on 22 Jan 2014 with a paediatric dentist. I was more nervous than Ewan himself! Will he squirm in the seat? Will he cry? Will he be cooperative? Will it be a fear-provoking experience?
To our surprise, he enjoyed his 5 minutes session in the chair. These valuable 5 minutes allowed the dentist to assess Ewan’s risk of a possible crowded mouth and the start to tooth decay. He shared that Ewan owns a set of adult-sized teeth. They are huge and the reason to why they are already crooked in his toddler-sized mouth. We could be looking into braces in the near future if we want to ensure he has a straight set of pearly whites.
The first painless signs to cavities are white or yellow spots on tooth surfaces near the gum line. A quick photographic check on the big screen showed us clearly that Ewan’s on the road to tooth decay. He has yellow stains on his both tooth near the gum. They will turn brown and break down into cavities over time, occasionally accompanied by pain and swelling.
Ewan went Ahhhhh upon request which made the check much easier than expected. Boy were we glad we made this visit to help us anticipate future issues that may come. Regular dental visits from now can save time, money and Ewan’s teeth! We immediately went full swing to healthy oral hygiene – getting the right toothbrush, toothpaste and into brushing in the mornings and nights. Before this, it was a haphazard routine.
The dentist suggested fluoride-based toothpaste but I was concerned about Ewan not being able to spit. Nevertheless, the training starts and I decided to have him continue with Jack & Jill organic natural toothpaste for the daily brush. It contains no fluoride, no preservatives, SLS free and no added colour. Absolutely safe to swallow. Then on Sundays, I give him a smear of Kodomo kids fluoride toothpaste just to thoroughly clean his teeth through. He has successfully learnt to gargle and spit by now but sometimes, our thirsty hippo decides that he’d like to drink some toothpasty water.
I got him a full set of Jack & Jill brushing kit just because I find them so cute! Well, they are also biodegradable. I like to be part of a green community.
Jack & Jill toothbrush has a ergonomic handle made from 100% Corn Starch. To re-cycle, first break off the toothbrush head, then discard and place the rest of the toothbrush into your compost. It takes 90 days to break down into a commercial compost. Any way we dispose this toothbrush, we can be sure that they will not be land-fill for million of years to come – unlike many toothbrushes in use today.
As with Jack & Jill’s rinse cup, it is made from bamboo and rice husks. It is naturally BPA & PVC Free and great use as a regular drinking cup as well!
If you haven’t brought your child to a dentist, I think it is a wise decision to plan a visit before any problems arise. Keeping in mind to make the visit pleasant and not fear-provoking. Healthy habits start young and will carry over to adulthood. A child who does not want to brush his teeth or go to a dentist is likely to continue to do so in adulthood [That’s Meyer and I!]. Not unless parents guide him and install good health habits from young.
Purchase Jack & Jill at
Not Too Big
Forum Level 2
GPA Dentalcare @ Goldhill
101 Thomson Road #01-96/97
Opens: 9am to 6pm Daily except PH
Tel: +65 6251 9633
Consultation can be paid by CDA.