Dental Care

By: Dr. Mitchell Chun
Special to the
Oahu Island News

Baby teeth are worth more than a just dollar under the pillow. Providing proper care and oral hygiene during a child's first year of life can mean a lifetime of good oral health.

Traditionally, parents have waited to bring their children to the dentist until primary teeth begin to appear. A recent consumer poll shows that nearly 70 percent of parents wait until their children are three years old before taking them to the dentist. But a dental visit by age one, or within six months of the eruption of the first baby tooth is crucial.

During this first visit, the dentist usually will sit knee to knee with the parent, with the child comfortably nestled in the parent's lap. This gives the dentist the opportunity to have the parent demonstrate how she or he brushes the child's teeth while the child is feeling very safe. This pleasant and painless visit should take no more than 15 minutes.

Following a few simple rules can help ensure your child is off to a good start in oral health.

- Take your child to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first baby tooth, definitely by age one.

- Follow your dentist's advice regarding nutrition, hygiene routine, fluoride and dental visit schedule.

- Teach your child how to brush their teeth around age three, and brush your teeth with your children to model good technique and spot problems.

- Don't think baby teeth don't matter "because they'll just fall out anyway."

- Let your child know that visiting the dentist is will be a pleasant experience.

Dr. Chun is a family dentist with offices in Kailua and Waimanalo he can be reached at 259-7979. The Academy of General Dentistry provided additional information for this article.