Keep It Simple Series (KISS) offers dental care guidelines for busy mums and dads whose main focus at this time is to look after their little ones. Cheryl Ann Roberts, Dental Nurse Practitioner of Cheerful Children Family Dental Practice in Trinidad, shares insights about her profession and has condensed 7 useful dental care tips into bite-sized bits in this article.
My biggest joy in dental care
I enjoy meeting, helping and interacting with new families. My biggest joy is seeing their smiles at the end of a visit.
My services are geared toward children. I offer several services in Paediatric Dentistry. These include examinations, cleanings, polishings, fluoride treatments, fillings, extractions, bonding (to restore chipped teeth), counselling and more.
Dental nurse practitioner for over 37 years
I worked in the Ministry of Health as a dental nurse practitioner for over 37 years. I also worked as both a clinician and educator in the government service of Trinidad and Tobago.
My career has taken me throughout the islands of Trinidad and Tobago – classrooms, health fairs, career guidance workshops and school’s Parent-Teacher meetings. I’m also a breastfeeding activist. I authored the booklet ‘My baby deserves the best’.
Continuing to offer dental care services while enjoying hobbies
I have retired from the Public Service. I now work and manage the Cheerful Children Family Dental Practice. Also, I enjoy my hobbies which include playing the violin, piano, landscaping and tending to my flower and vegetable garden.
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My advice to parents on dental care at home
Oral health affects how we eat, talk, look and feel
Parents, just seeing that first tooth peeping through the gums of your baby will get any parent excited. What about the feeling you experience when your baby smiles for the first time or bites into that first piece of banana?
Oral health affects how we eat, talk, look and feel about ourselves. Poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay (also called cavities and dental caries) and gum disease.
Cavities that are not treated can lead to extreme pain, infections, speech issues, reduced self-esteem, tooth loss and mental health issues for parents and children. However, tooth decay is preventable.
What causes tooth decay?
Dental plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria (germs) which is constantly forming on the teeth. The bacteria feed on the sugars in the foods and drinks we consume and then produce acids.
These acids are very destructive. They begin to destroy the outer layer of the teeth (enamel) and can eventually reach the nerve of the tooth. Extreme pain and tooth loss can occur if professional help is not sought.
Even babies’ teeth can decay. Instilling good oral health habits in our children sets the stage for healthy, pain-free teeth for life.
7 Simple things parents can do to provide dental care
Here are 7 simple tips that parents can follow to provide dental care for their little ones at home.
1. Breast feed
Breast feed baby exclusively for the first six months once possible.
2. Clean baby’s mouth
Gently clean baby’s mouth with a clean cloth and water. When teeth appear, use a baby-sized toothbrush or the same cloth to clean all surfaces of the teeth after feeds.
3. Make dental appointment
Make a dental appointment when your child reaches one year.
4. Brush teeth for children under 8 years old
Parents and caregivers are responsible for brushing children’s teeth once they are eight years and younger. Teeth should be brushed before bedtime at nights and at least one other time during the day.
Use a small soft-bristled toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children over three years. A smaller amount of children’s toothpaste (about the size of a rice grain) should be used for children under three years.
5. Use sugar free medications
Ask doctors and pharmacists to recommend sugar free medications.
6. Choose healthier snacks
Limit sugary foods and drinks. Choose healthier snacks such as pieces of carrot sticks, other vegetables, fruits e.g., watermelon, guava, banana, yoghurt, pieces of cheese, mango chow, water and plain milk.
7. Avoid sugary liquid in mouth for long periods
Don’t allow your child to sleep or stay for a long time with a feeding bottle with milk, juice or any other sugary liquid in the mouth.
Learn more about Cheerful Children Family Dental Practice
You may learn more about Cheerful Children Family Dental Practice or contact Cheryl Ann Roberts using the information below.
Address: #206 EMR Petit Bourg, San Juan, Trinidad
Phone and WhatsApp: 1-868-350-3048
Social media: Facebook
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