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Parents, did you know this about
your child’s oral care?
Childrens Dentistry General Facts
It’s important that parents talk about the first appointment in a positive way. Do not use dental visits as punishments. Just the same, never let anyone tell your child scary stories about seeing the dentist.
Do not bribe your child into going for his first visit. Make your child understand that having his teeth and gums checked is good for him or her. Bribes may appear to children as ways of making them do something that may hurt or disadvantage them.
Teeth start to develop while the child is in the womb. Most babies begin growing teeth by the third and six months of pregnancy, others may develop faster or slower than usual.
At birth, a complete set of 20 primary teeth are grown hidden within the gums. Primary teeth are also known as milk teeth, deciduous teeth or baby teeth. The first tooth generally erupts at about six months of age. ‘Eruption’ refers to the tooth breaking or cutting through the gums. For babies, this is more commonly called as ‘teething’.
When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
Good oral hygiene should begin even before your baby’s first tooth comes in. Get into the habit of wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, soft washcloth after each feedings and before you put him to sleep. There’s no need for toothpaste just yet. Simply wrap the cloth around your finger and gently rub it along his lower and upper gums. Getting him used to having his gums cleaned is a good way of preparing him for toothbrushing later on.
When should I begin brushing his teeth?
Start using a toothbrush as soon as his first tooth erupts. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and commercially available toothpaste made especially for young children. Teething generally starts at about six months and it causes irritability and discomfort for most babies. Brush his tongue gently to avoid build-up of bacteria that cause infections and bad breath. Replace toothbrushes every two to three months.
Do I need to get him fluoridated toothpaste? Am I giving my baby just the right amount of toothpaste?
Fluoride strengthens the protective structure of the teeth known as enamel. This mineral makes the teeth less resistant to acids and bacteria that break down and damages the teeth’s enamel. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, use a ‘smear’ of toothpaste for children less than two years of age and a ‘pea-sized’ amount for children aged two to five. Too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis. Fluorosis causes white spots that stain the teeth. Remember to teach your child to spit out toothpaste after brushing.
How do I know that baby’s starting to teeth? What can I do to help ease his discomfort?
Symptoms of teething baby include restlessness and irritability, gum swelling, sleeping problems, loss of appetite, increased saliva or drooling, rashes or redness in the cheeks and frequent biting of fingers and other objects into the mouth. Comfort your baby by giving him something to chew on, such as a cold teeth ring or a cold clean washcloth. Soothe him by gently massaging and rubbing his gums. If none of this works, your doctor may suggest giving your baby acetaminophen to relieve his pain.
Injuries to children’s teeth are stressful for both children and their parents. It is best to contact your dentist immediately should your child need urgent dental treatment. Prompt treatment leads to better chances of treating and saving your child’s teeth. Parents must keep the emergency phone numbers always available and convenient for easy reference.
Rinse your child’s mouth with lukewarm water and gently apply cold compress to reduce swelling. Never apply heat or aspirin directly on the tooth or gums. Aspirin is acidic and may cause burns or stings. Over the counter pain medications adjusted accordingly to your child’s age and weight will help relieve pain and discomfort. Book an appointment with your dentist immediately.
If your child has something lodged in between his teeth, gently remove it using a dental floss. Do not use any sharp tool or metal to remove it.
Broken, Chipped or Knocked Out Tooth
Find the tooth and rinse it with clean water. Be careful not to touch it by the root; handle it by the crown only. Do not use soap to clean it. If possible, put it back in its socket and gently hold it steady with a clean cloth. If you’re unable to do it, place it in a clean container with cold water or milk. Do not wrap it in tissue or in a cloth. The tooth should not be allowed to dry. Your child should visit the dentist at the earliest to save the tooth.
Loose tooth should be removed to avoid your child from swallowing or choking from it. Encourage your child to remove it himself. Only he knows how much discomfort he can stand.
Use cold compress to reduce swelling. Your child might need immediate medical attention. Head to the hospital as soon as you can. Severe blows to the head can be life-threatening.
Avoiding Dental Injuries
The best approach to dental injuries is to avoid them. Prevent toothache by regular brushing and flossing. Avoid giving them hard foods to chew on. Have him wear protective gears including a mouth guard if he plays contact sports. It is best to inform the dentist if your child has had any dental procedures done before letting him play. Always use car seats and require seatbelts for your children. Childproof your house. Keep the floors dry to avoid falls. Lastly, regular dental check-ups will help determine additional preventive strategies suited for your child.
Brushing and flossing alone cannot always get into all the pits in the teeth and the hard-to-reach areas in the mouth. Inadequate cleaning can cause food particles and plaque to accumulate and this can lead to tooth decay.
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surfaces of one or more teeth to avoid dental caries. They are more commonly applied to the back teeth; the molars and premolars. The liquid sealant becomes a hard, thin layer that forms a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. This prevents food and plaque from getting caught and stuck within the depressions and grooves of the teeth.
Children are the most obvious candidates for sealants. They should visit their dentists for sealant applications as soon as their molars and premolars erupt. This may remain effective for five years or more and can protect their teeth through the cavity-prone years of six to fourteen. Each person has unique needs. Adults at risk for caries and those without prior filings may also benefit from sealants.
Though sealants can protect the teeth for years, they may need to be examined for chipping, wearing or breaking. They may be fixed and replaced by your dentist as necessary. Visit Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic today and make your oral and dental health cavity-free.
Thumbsucking is one of the most common behaviors among children. This starts early in life and may even begin before birth. It is a normal reflex and is generally stopped between ages two and four. A child draws a sense of comfort and security from sucking especially when he feels hungry, restless or sleepy.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that this should not stir concern until your child’s front teeth erupt. It is during this period when some dental problems may take place, such as protruding front teeth or irregular bites.
Prolonged thumbsucking may eventually lead to malocclusion, where the permanent teeth become improperly aligned. It may also cause teeth to be pushed outward, sometimes even malforming the roof of the mouth. When this habit continues over a long period of time, it may further develop speech problems such as difficulty in pronunciations and lisping.
Most children stop thumbsucking on their own. Children above five years of age who continue with this behavior may need to be evaluated by a doctor. This could be a response to stress or to an underlying emotional disorder such as anxiety.
How Can I Help My Child Quit Thumbsucking?
Remind. Distract. Reward.
Be supportive. Be open and talk to your child openly about it. Nagging will most likely lead to worse results. A positive reminder is useful for children who are ready to stop the habit.
Distract your child by offering him other comfort objects like toys or even pacifiers. Pacifiers make less damage to the oral makeup and structure than thumbsucking. There are over the counter non-toxic bitter paints that you can apply on his fingernails that may help him keep his thumb off his mouth.
Start a progress chart and reward your child each day that he does not suck his thumb.
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Got More Questions, Check FAQ
Your child should be scheduled for check-ups once every six months. However, your dentist may recommend more visits depending on your child’s personal oral health.
A child’s diet is a major factor concerning tooth decay. Teeth are at risk for decay as soon as the first tooth erupts. An early examination evaluates your child’s risk of developing an oral disease using a caries risk assessment.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) or Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is attributed to prolonged duration of bottle feeding among children. Putting a child to sleep with a bottle of milk, juice or formula can lead to tooth decay. Giving your child sweetened liquids over a long period of time means protracted contact between the bacteria on the susceptible tooth surfaces and the sugars present in the feeds or liquids. This increases the risk for dental caries.
Tooth decay, otherwise known as dental caries or cavities, is caused by the acids produced by the bacteria in the dental plaque. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria, saliva and food debris that naturally develops on the tooth surface. These bacteria found in the plaque use sugar to produce acids which attack and destroy teeth and tooth enamel.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that a child should visits the dentist no later than his first birthday. A child should be examined by the dentist as soon as his first tooth erupts, usually between six to twelve months.
X-rays will help determine whether your child’s teeth and jaw are healthy and aligned. It is a safe procedure. It is recommended that a child gets his x-rays taken at an early age in order for his dentist to examine and devise ways to prevent future dental problems.
Thumbsucking is common among children. It is a natural urge for babies to soothe themselves whenever they feel hungry, restless or sleepy. It is best to put a stop to thumbsucking before the permanent teeth come in. This may not only trigger problems with proper chewing and swallowing, it may also cause may cause teeth to grow out of alignment (malocclusion) and position.
- Use a damp, clean washcloth or a soft toothbrush to clean your baby’s gums after feedings.
- As soon as your child’s teeth erupt, start brushing them twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and with an age-appropriate toothbrush.
- For children less than two years of age, a ‘smear’ of toothpaste is advised, while for children between two to five years of age, a ‘pea-sized’ amount of toothpaste is recommended.
- Flossing regularly will help clean areas that cannot be reached by a toothbrush.
- Encourage your child to brush and floss as soon as he has the ability to do it on his own.
- Never put your child to sleep with a bottle.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks and maintain a healthy diet for your child.
- Do not flavor his pacifiers with sweetened substances like honey or syrups.
- Brush his teeth twice daily and clean them after giving him medications that may contain high amounts of sugar.