Kids are naturally against regular 'mouth inspections', especially little ones, so early tooth decay can be pretty hard to spot! That's where a dentist is needed.
"We recommend children have their first dentist before their first birthday as taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent tooth decay, and can also help parents learn how to clean their child's teeth," says Professor Johan Hartshorne, Dental Surgeon at Intercare Dental Centre of Excellence. "Many first visits are nothing more than informal 'introductory icebreakers' to acquaint your child with the dentist and the practice, and will generally only be between 15 and 30 minutes long."
Johan recommends finding a dentist who is 'kid-friendly' and who your child will feel at ease with. "While cartoon network on the ceiling is a great indication of a kid-friendly dentist, it's also important to find someone your child feels comfortable with. Friends with children are often a good source for recommendations, or you can visit one of the many Intercare Dental Centres who has staff guaranteed to make your child smile. Parents should be in the room with the child and a dentist should stop working if a child gets upset or nervous."
If your child has a sucking habit (be it thumb, pacifier, or bottle), Johan recommends you let the dentist know, as it may affect your child's teeth and jaw."Dummy sucking is only an oral health problem if it continues to school age or later when the permanent teeth begin to come through. If guidelines are followed, sucking a dummy or thumb is safe for a baby's or toddler's teeth. Dummies should never be dipped in sugar, honey or anything sweet. Parents can help their child to stop sucking habits with support and encouragement," says Johan.
Parents across South Africa trust Intercare Dental centres to take care of the health of their children's teeth. Intercare Dental centres feature fully-fledged dental departments staffed by experienced dentists and oral hygienists qualified to provide a full range of dental services ranging from routine dental care to specialised dental services and oral hygiene.