Oleg Kovnatskiy, chief of pediatric department of the Dubnova’s Clinic, spoke about how to take care of the kid's milk teeth, how to choose a pediatric dentist and how to prepare the kid for the visit to the doctor.
Oleg, tell us when it is necessary to start brushing your kid's teeth, and how to do it properly?
First teeth should be brushed the same way as permanent teeth. As soon as the kid has the first tooth, there is a need to clean it. If plaque appears on the tooth, it is likely that sooner or later caries will appear there. The rules for cleaning are the same for all teeth and ages: this should be done twice a day: in the morning and in the evening.
How to choose a toothbrush and toothpaste for the baby?
Toothbrushes are designed and grouped by age. If this is the first tooth, the brush marking will be from 0 to 2 years. The brush should have a small head so that it fits in the baby’s mouth. The bristles should be soft and low. You can use electric or ultrasonic brushes, they will not erase enamel. The first rule of toothpaste choice for a kid - it should be for a kid. The ingredients in it will be balanced so that if the kid swallows a little bit, then nothing terrible will happen. I recommend that fluoride be part of the paste - it is an active element that affects the strengthening of the tooth enamel.
Who should brush the teeth of the kid: parents or kid without assistance?
The parents brush their kids’ teeth, even with an electric brush, up to 7-8 years old. Then the kid can brush his teeth himself, but under the control of his parents, and only from 10-11 years old he can do it himself. The fact is that up to 7-8 years old, the kid simply lacks fine motor skills in his hands, and therefore is simply not able to brush his teeth qualitatively. Therefore, parents are responsible for the cleanliness of their kid’s teeth.
When is the first time for the kid to visit the dentist?
For the first time it is desirable to visit the dentist when the kid has the first tooth. However, there is a mandatory recommendation - no later than at 1 year old. Sometimes the first teeth already have incomplete development, although it will not be visually noticed. The dentist will see the problem at an early stage and will be able to apply preventive measures. Otherwise, it may happen that in a year or two, the teeth will be decayed, and will require much complicated and difficult treatment.
How to choose a clinic and a doctor?
First, the doctor must be a pediatric dentist. He/She must have appropriate specialization and experience working with kids. Often, a general dentist is not competent in pediatric dentistry. Secondly, it would be fine to make the first visit as a consultative one, at least, in order to understand whether you and your kid could find a good contact with a doctor. Thirdly, I would recommend that it be either a clinic or a department, or at least an office in the clinic, but a specialized, pediatric one. Because in such places there is a kid's corner with some toys, constructors, albums, pictures to color, TV with cartoons, etc. This is important because dental treatment is stressful for both the kid and the parents. And the more comfortable the kid feels, the better it will be for him and for everyone else.