I usually blog about what we do on the weekends here in small-town Newfoundland, but lately I have been feeling like writing about what we do on work days. Like, did you know that the Canadian Dental Association recommends bringing your kid to the dentist before their first birthday? This is totally something that was pounded into our heads in dental school, but I think a lot of people have no idea that the first dental visit should be so early.
Now that I have a child of my own, and my friends are starting to have kids too, I am more interested in getting the word out about that first dental visit. Cohen was 9 months old when he had his first checkup, and I am seeing more and more under-one-year-old kids at the clinic, and I love it.
This is what I do at the first visit:
Ask a bunch of questions. I want to know if you are brushing with a toothbrush at night. I want to know what kind of toothpaste you use. I want to know if we are using a bottle, a sippy cup, or a regular glass to drink from. I want to know if your child drinks milk, juice, water, pop, formula, breast milk, etc. I want to know if you have a picky eater.
Have a quick look at the mouth and teeth. Sometimes this look is super quick because baby is crying/screaming. Mostly I want to see how many teeth are there, and if there are any signs that they are drinking too much milk or juice. I also want to check to see if they are tongue-tied (surprisingly common) and if the teeth are spaced out or crowded.
Give some basic advice/recommendations. No more bottles after 1 year of age. Only water in sippy cups. Etc.
That's it! Most first dental visits are under 10 minutes, and you get a toothbrush at the end. Totally painless.