Zephy had her second dental visit at 13 months old for teeth cleaning and fluoride varnish. Her first visit was when she just just 11 days old for her lip and tongue tie revision.
We travelled all the way to Malolos from Manila to see a highly recommended pediatric and special needs dentist, Dr Kimberly Ong of Kids Care Dental Clinic. The clinic has a friendly ambience perfect for babies and children.
Zephy and I with Dra. Kim after the procedure.
Zephy and I with Dra. Kim after the procedure.
We’ve been meaning to see a dentist since Zephy turned one but it was only just now that we were able to push through with her appointment. Thankfully we did and we were just in time.
Zephy’s Oral Health
At 13 months, I thought the best way of keeping Zephy’s teeth clean was by allowing her to clean her teeth by herself. I would just follow it through by haphazardly brushing them for a few seconds after she is done. We have been doing it this way since she was 8 months old. I thought by doing it this way, she would get used to idea of brushing so she would independently know how to do it in the future. Well as it turns out, I wasn’t doing enough.
Zephy’s teeth had signs of decalcification or white spots which could lead to early childhood caries. Thankfully, our visit was timely. If we were to delay it longer, she would have a mild case of tooth decay.
The Importance of Keeping Teeth Clean
I cannot underscore the importance of keeping teeth clean and viable especially baby teeth. They are like the “foundation” of our permanent teeth. Keeping them well until our adult teeth come out is important because not only will it save your child from experiencing painful toothaches but it will also keep you from spending for additional dental procedures in the future.
Also, remember that our children’s teeth don’t decay at the same time. They have to remain clean and decay-free until their permanent counterparts are ready to erupt.
Teeth Cleaning and Flouride Varnish
Knee-to-knee position when cleaning the teeth.
Because Zephy is just 13 months, it wasn’t the usual ‘chairside’ dental procedure. Dr. Kim showed us how to clean Zephy’s teeth through the knee-to-knee position. This position is meant to restrain movement so that a thorough clean can be done. She used a special brush with compact bristles and long and smaller than usual handle enough to fit in a baby’s mouth. She brushed them clean using regular fluoridated baby toothpaste. After this, she applied a few coats of fluoride varnish on Zephy’s teeth to allow the “white spots” to remineralise and prevent decay.
The experience was very new for Zephy. So as I expected, she wailed and cried while doing the procedure. It didn’t last long though. Zephy only had 8 fully erupted teeth (4 upper and 4 lower teeth) so it was very quick. Plus, she was pacified by the animal balloon blown up by one of the clinic’s staff members.
She is not allowed to eat and drink for 1 hour because the fluoride might not “stick” well to the teeth. This means no nursing, too. Otherwise, masasayang lang ang fluoride. This was a struggle for us because prior to the visit, Zephy was already tired and was wanting to nurse. So after the procedure, she was so sleepy but she couldn’t sleep because she only sleeps on the breast. This meant more wailing in the car for 30 minutes. When she woke up, it was time for booby milk!
Zephy was advised to go back every 3 months for cleaning and fluoride application. Because the clinic is too far from ours, we’ve decided to visit Dr. Kim’s clinic at Manila Med.
Dra. Kim giving us a short but informative talk on the importance of keeping our Zephy’s teeth clean.
This is the part which I liked the most because most dentists do not bother with this. Dr. Kim gave us tips on what to do to ensure that Zephy’s teeth are maintained clean and viable until her permanent teeth erupt.
✅ Clean baby’s teeth thoroughly twice a day using fluoridated baby toothpaste and the prescribed toothbrush
Even though it is a struggle, we really have to clean our babies’ teeth the way Dr. Kim cleaned them – through a knee-to-knee position. It is the only way we can get in between the teeth and in those hard-to-reach areas. They will struggle, be combative, resist, and cry but don’t worry, cleaning isn’t painful; it’s the restraint that makes them uncomfortable. Make sure to incorporate tooth brushing in their routine so they can get used to it faster.
Fluoridated toothpaste is also advisable as soon as baby’s first tooth erupts. A smear of toothpaste is all they need and no more than that.
✅ Modify your baby’s diet
This means limit (or no) starchy food (biscuits) and sweet food (candies, chocolate). Zephy has been having 2 or 3 fita biscuits at night so that will be written off from her list of food to eat. Healthier food options that you can give your babies are fruits and sugar-free snacks which are available at Healthy Options.
✅ Modify your diet if you are breastfeeding
Breastmilk is naturally sweet so eating more sweets can up the sugar content of your milk. Night time feeding can hasten the development of early caries as it leaves you no time to brush your baby’s teeth after feeding.
✅ Have your babies see a dentist when they turn 1.
When your baby turns one, he/she would have been eating a variety of food. This makes him/her vulnerable to early caries. Plus nursing and bottle feeding can also be culprit to premature decay of your babies teeth. This is why 12 months is just the perfect time to have you baby seen by a professional to address his/her oral health needs
Tips before going to the dentist:
👍🏻 If you have a 12 month old baby just like I do, expect your baby to cry and throw a tantrum. They don’t like their freedom taken away from them.
👍🏻 Make sure your baby gets plenty of rest before the procedure. They are more calm this way.
👍🏻 Bring some toys to distract them.
👍🏻 Make sure to feed them first prior to the examination and procedure
👍🏻 Keep calm. They feel it when you’re stressed.