Interview by Siobhan Brown
Many parents have lingering questions regarding their children’s teeth and too often children do not see a dentist until well after their first birthday. Delayed dental visits can cause permanent problems and it’s important to know that baby teeth do play an important role in your child’s development. Shanghai Mamas sits down with Dr. Begoña Ros, Pediatric Dentist at PureSmile, to discuss how parents can ensure our children receive the best in dental care, and how we can best support and educate them at home between dental visits.
Dr. Ros, when should children receive their first dental exam?
Pediatric dentists also work with babies, before the first tooth has even come in, in order to establish a dental record. During this visit we focus more on oral health care, teething, and facial development. We can check the skeletal part of the face, as this will tell us a lot about what is going on with the baby’s development. If we only focus on the teeth, we can miss a great deal of important information. Dentists can see from an early age that a child may develop speech problems, just from oral examination, and as early as the age of 6, even earlier they are able to refer to a speech therapist if necessary. (Shanghai Mamas Family Day Party discount code: ShMaBeachParty). If there are breastfeeding issues, we can look to see if the tongue is tied. Some moms give up breastfeeding too early when the issues could be caused by something as simple as a tongue that has not developed properly. It is also important to address the usage of pacifiers and thumb sucking, as this can cause damage to the teeth. We try to educate the parents on doing away with these bad habits and encourage parents to help their children reach milestones that are good for their children’s development, such as switching from bottle to cup as soon as possible around the age of 1. It is absolutely crucial however, that children see a dentist in their first year, as soon as the first tooth is coming in.
When should I first start brushing my child’s teeth?
We want to create a habit as early as possible, as even one year olds can brush their teeth! And even if they don’t have teeth yet, we can help them gently brush to remove the milk from the gums and the tongue. It is important that we teach our babies that this is natural, so they do not think that the only thing that goes into their mouths is a bottle or a breast. If we do not create the habit early, then our children will not want a foreign object in their mouth when the time does come to brush their teeth, and the resistance will be greater.
When should my child start flossing?
Children can start flossing as soon as the teeth start to come in. Obviously parents will need to do this for their children until they are old enough –around 8- because of the motor skills required. Again this is all about building healthy habits at an early stage. It is important to buy floss is made of wax that is flat not round. Flat floss creates much less force to get between the teeth, causing less harm to the child’s gums.
How often should my child see the dentist?
If the child is not high risk and developing naturally and eating a balanced diet, then once a year is enough for babies and toddlers. Children ages 3-6 should see a dentist every 6 months.
How can I make sure my child is getting enough fluoride?
Fluoride toothpaste and supplements such as Fluoride drops are an ideal way to help ensure your child is getting enough fluoride, especially in a city where fluoride count is not high and it is unadvisable to drink the tap water. Fluoride drops and instructions are given on the box in relation to the child’s age. It is best to buy these in your home country when you visit, as they are very difficult to source in Shanghai.
What should I expect on our first dental visit?
At PureSmile we ensure that our smallest patients receive a great deal of attention and care. Each child is given glasses to protect their eyes during any dental treatment. We have three VIP rooms, one oral hygienist station, and at each appointment a dentist can watch and try and train the older children. Television stations play child appropriate shows above their heads which helps to distract them during their checkup. Children can also choose to have headphones, which helps minimize the sound of the instruments.
What does normal teeth development look like?
Children from the ages of 3 to 6 years only have 20 teeth. They have ten on top and ten on bottom and they normally start losing them around the age of 6 having lost them all by the age of 13. By the age of 18 they should have 32 adult teeth.
How long will my child see a Pediatric Dentist?
From birth to about 12 years of age.
Dr. Begoña Ros, has two young identical daughters who turn one in October. She moved to Shanghai in 2014 when she joined the PureSmile clinic. Her natural ease with children and adults alike, her extensive knowledge as a general dentist, endodontist and pediatric dentist have already made her an asset to Puresmile patients. PureSmile is proud to be an Organizational Sponsor of Shanghai Mamas. To make an appointment please call:
Pudong Clinic: +8621 6105 9400
No. 2- 4 Lane, 650 Biyun Road, Jinqiao, Pudong, Shanghai 201206
上海浦东新区金桥碧云路 650 弄 2-4 号 邮编 201206
Hongqiao Clinic: +8621 6237 6969
2268 Hongqiao Road, 2nd Floor, Unit2P, Changning, Shanghai 200336
虹桥商务大厦 上海长宁区虹桥路 2268 号 2 楼 P 座 邮编 200336
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