Visiting a dentist would be the last thing i want to do. I would rather be in an OT of a labor room than on a dentist chair! The fear of going to the dentist or dental phobia as it is called in severe case and this is the main reason why people neglected their oral health. I’m obviously guilty because i fall in this category too. If we parent are afraid i’m sure it would not be easy for a child too.
I’m a strong believer of “conditioning/ accustom” in my parenting philosophy… Hence, the idea of starting the oral hygiene routine on Little S as early as newborn to prevent tooth decay. We started a gums & tongue cleaning routine with Little S since she’s 2 weeks old. As much as possible we try to make this a fun activity, we sings and giggles a lot! Below are 2 of our current favourites:
Our signature tooth brushing song (in our local Malaysia Children song) since birth;
Bangun pagi, gosok gigi,
Cuci muka, pakai baju,
Minum susu, makan roti,
Pergi sekolah, suka hati……..
Every time we sing this song, you’ll see her mouth wide open ready for her tooth brushing session.
I’ve also recently introduced an English version to Little S too
It’s a fairly simple routine for newborn, all you need is a cup of warm boiled water and washcloth. Wrap the wet washcloth around your index finger and gently rub his gums and tongue right before you bath him. You’ll not have much problem to wipe his tongue if you started on your child early. Little S enjoys this so much, we make a point to do this every time we bath her. It’s also highly recommended to clean after every feed (we did try to adhere to this, but in most days we will clean her 4-5 times/ day). As she grow older, we introduced silicon toothbrush to her as part of her routine at the age of 4 months.
Besides poor oral hygiene, another silent cause of tooth decay is bedtime feeding. When baby is allow to use either bottle of breast as a pacifier to go to bed, sugar from drinks/milk will produce acids that dissolve and damage the enamel. Therefore, avoid putting sweetened liquid (such as breast milk, formula or fruit juice) in a bottle to put baby to bed. If you really need bottle feeding, try replacing milk with water.
Tooth decay can also begin when cavity-causing bacteria pass from saliva in a mother’s mouth to the baby, this is another unspoken cause that a lot of people doesn’t realise. When the mother puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby therefore utensil sharing is not a good idea. This is not commonly discussed but it’s definitely good to know so we are aware!
Last but not least is the way how we maintain her silicon toothbrush….. On a weekly basis, we will give her silicon toothbrushes a good bath by soaking it in mouthwash for a min or so. i then dilute the mouthwash with some water and soak it for another 15 mins. This just personal preference, although we clean her tooth brush after every use, we still want to take a precaution step and sanitise it with mouthwash.
Just in case if any parent out there wonder about Fluoride supplement, there has been a long debate on introducing fluoride toothpaste to baby. Fluoride is a nutrient that helps prevent tooth decay, hence all the fluoridated tooth paste in the market. Some said it’s safe and some said not for babies. For us, we decided not to introduce fluoride toothpaste till she turns 2. We are using fluoridated water on a daily basis, therefore supplement is not necessary at this point. But if you plan to introduce fluoride toothpaste to toddler below 2 years old please seek advice from your local dentist. For more information on fluoride for children, do check out American Dental Association – Fluoride
We are in the midst of scheduling Little S first dentist visit but as usual i’m dental phobic, my hubby needs to be there otherwise i might faint…. Lol! Dentist visit at an early age is really important, at this stage it’s primarily to check growth and development of her teeth. Generally it’s recommended for baby to visit their dentist before they turn 1 but i personally find it rather difficult especially when then child is too young to understand the dentist’s instruction and it could turn to a very unpleasant experience. We decided to give her a few more months till she’s able to understand instruction better before taking her to the dentist, and of course the secondary reason is mummy’s too afraid to go alone. Let’s wait for daddy! Will keep you posted on our dentist visit….