Online Resources Support Baby’s First Dental Visit



The ADA and the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) agree that parents should take their infants to the dentist once the first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Getting parents to make that initial appointment, though, can be a challenge. That’s why the CDA has launched First Visit, First Tooth, which gives parents and practitioners information and other resources for early oral care.

The website informs parents that severe decay accounts for 31% of all hospital day surgeries performed on children between the ages of one and 4. It also notes that toothaches and infections from untreated cavities can result in poor sleep, growth, nutrition, self-esteem, learning, communication, and socialization. The first dental visit, the site says, should be celebrated since it is the first step in a healthy life.

Additionally, the site provides advice for new and expecting parents. For example, it encourages a good diet during pregnancy since baby teeth begin to develop in the first trimester. It also suggests breastfeeding, establishing oral hygiene routines, weaning away from bottles by the first birthday, limiting juice and other sweet drinks to 4 ounces a day, and using cheese, fruits, vegetables, and nuts as snacks.

Meanwhile, dentists and other oral health caregivers can go to the site to order the First Visit, First Tooth teaching kit. It’s a half-day, interactive course developed by Dr. Ross Anderson, chief of dentistry at the IWK Health Centre and head of the division of pediatric dentistry at Dalhousie University, that teaches professionals how to decrease and prevent early childhood caries.

Topics include the clinical appearance of lesions, risk assessment tools, providing comfort to infants and toddlers during exams, preventive strategies, and therapeutic restorative-based strategies. The kit includes a toddler-sized doll for active sim lab demonstrations, toothbrushes, fluoride varnish, certificates of achievement, a poster, and other tools.

Dentists can order the kit by emailing, calling (800) 267-6354, or going online.

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