A guide to your child’s dental health care

Has the first tooth of your infant arrived? Are you guessing when to inculcate the regular brushing habit in your child? This post has especially been created to deal into the general FAQs of parents, especially the first-timers! The anxiety quotient among new mums will to some extent be relieved on going through these general questions that have occurred to them at some point of time or the other!

  1. When Should My Child Start Brushing?

While the baby’s first tooth appears, you are not to worry. This is because tooth care should start off even before the first tooth appears. Teeth, simply because they are not visible, does not mean that they are not there. A baby’s teeth start emerging as early as the second trimester of pregnancy. By the time they are born, as many as 20 teeth are present inside the jaws. Therefore a tooth care regime for infants is equally important. Here are some tips on how you would start off with the job:

  • Use a clean, damp, cloth, wrap it on your fingers and rub the gums on both the jaws of the baby, even before he or she starts teething.
  • As soon as the very first tooth appears, start off with the daily brushing regime. Use a fluoride toothpaste – only a tiny bit of it every time. Preferably use one with American Dental Association (ADA’s) seal of acceptance.
  • Once several adjacent teeth start appearing, start flossing in between them.

Make sure that as a responsible parent, you keep an eye on some important facts and they are:

  • Around the age of 2, your child should learn to spit while brushing.
  • Kids who are 3 and above should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Kids younger than 8, should always be supervized while brushing, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste!
  1. When should my baby quit bottle feeding?

Often, putting a baby to sleep with the feeding bottle is very convenient. Beware, as this can seriously harm the baby’s teeth. When the sugars from milk or baby feed remain on a baby’s teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel. This condition is known as bottle mouth. The signs and symptoms of a bottle mouth are pitted or discolored front teeth. Kids with severe bottle mouth problems are likely to have of their front teeth pulled out. This should be a cause of serious concern especially when permanent teeth are far from emerging.

Babies should have specific times for drinking each day. Sucking on a bottle throughout the day can be equally damaging to young teeth. Babies from the tender age of 6 months are encouraged to switch from a bottle to a cup. By the age of 12 months, they’ll have the motor skills and coordination that are needed to use the cup on their own.

  1. How to keep my baby away from cavities?

Cavities are formed due to food particles that are left over. Bacteria start feeding on these foods and release acids. The latter is responsible for softening the enamel until holes or cavities are formed. Hence, ways to keep cavities at bay are one of the most important causes of concern among parents! The following tips could help deal with cavities efficiently:

  • Avoid certain foods– sugary foods like gums, candies, juices etc. should be avoided. Even if they are consumed sometimes, rinse the baby’s mouth thoroughly such that no sugar content is left-back.
  • Get adequate amounts of fluoride for your baby– Fluoride aids in strengthening the enamel of the teeth thus making it difficult for acids to penetrate this hard layer. Quite often, the local water supply is fluoridated. Otherwise, you need to consult your pediatric dentist to suggest the appropriate fluoride toothpaste for your child!

Fluoride levels should be adequate since too much of fluoride might be responsible for tooth discoloration again! Thus consulting your kid’s dentist is crucial.

  • Stick to a healthy oral hygiene– The regular flossing and twice-daily brushing regime should continue. This ensures that food particles are left back in your baby’s mouth! Brushing especially after major meals is most significant.
  • Application of Sealants by the pediatric dentist – Sealants are especially applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (or the molars). They are resin-made thin protective covering for the chewing surfaces that prevent food crumbs from entering the hard-to-reach crevices of the back teeth!
  1. What Is Orthodontia?

Often, in case of children, straightness of their teeth is adversely affected. This usually happens due to the untimely tooth loss in children (on account of sports injuries, cavities, etc.). Premature loss of teeth creates a space that provides room for the adjacent teeth to shift slightly. Orthodontic treatment in such cases should start at an early age. Such corrective treatments can nowadays star as early as the age of 7.

Often if children are troublesome in wearing devices studded with metals and wires, plastic aligners are also available to serve similar purposes. According to dentists, manipulation of teeth at a younger is indeed easier and more effective.

  1. When Should My Child See the Dentist?

The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends that children should start seeing the dentist by their first birthday. At this first visit, the dentist explains proper brushing and flossing techniques and does a preliminary exam of the baby’s teeth.

If a child seems to be at risk of cavities or other problems, the dentist might start applying topical fluoride even before all teeth come in! Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, thus keeping dental cavities – the most common childhood dental menace – or dental carries away!

Many individuals are often under a myth that baby teeth do not need significant care as they are not permanent ones. This article was indeed created to heavily bust this myth. Baby teeth create room for permanent teeth in future. Premature loss of baby teeth due to lack of proper care and hygiene rather creates room for other teeth to shift and destroy the alignment of your child’s permanent teeth! Thus baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth and calls for proper dental care.