Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth
When should you plan your child’s first visit to the dentist? Does your 3-year-old need to floss? How’d you know if your child needs braces?
Parents face a difficult time deciding when their kid needs dental care. As much as they want to avoid cavities, they are generally unaware of the ideal approach to go about. So here is some guidance for such parents.
When Should Kids Start Brushing Their Teeth?
A child’s dental care starts well before the appearance of his/her first tooth. Teeth start to form in pregnancy’s second trimester. By the time of birth, an infant has 20 primary teeth, a few of which are completely formed in the jaw. Here’s how you can take care of these tiny choppers:
- Even before teething starts, pass a neat, moist facecloth over the baby's gums to clean up unhealthy bacteria.
- Use an infant toothbrush once your baby starts getting teeth. You can use a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste with water.
- Flossing is advisable once your child's teeth touch.
- Around 2 years, your child will figure out how to spit while brushing.
- Make sure to oversee your children younger than 6 years during brushing, as they will probably swallow toothpaste.
Babies can also experience tooth decay due to poor feeding practices. Oftentimes, mothers put babies to sleep with bottles in their mouth. While this may be convenient, it will damage the baby’s teeth. When the sugary food or milk stay on a baby's teeth for long, they can corrode the enamel, resulting in a condition called “bottle mouth.” Discolored, pocked, or pitted front teeth indicate bottle mouth. There should be specific times set for feeding and drinking milk since sipping on a bottle all day can be harmful to young teeth. Infants as young as 6 months are urged to shift from a bottle to a sippy cup.
When Should You Take Your Child to a Dentist?
It is suggested that children see a dentist by the time they turn one. In the first visit, the dentist will discuss brushing and flossing methods and perform an exam while your child sits on your lap.
Early age visits will allow your child to get over the fear of visiting the dentist as they grow old. Also, the problems identified on time or earlier will be treated better. Visit a dentist that is expert in treating kids. Pediatric dentists are specialized in dealing with the extensive scope of issues related to children's dental health. They additionally know when to refer you to another type of specialists, such as an orthodontist or oral dentist, looking at the dental issue.
How Can We Prevent Cavities?
Cavities find a place in the mouth when bacteria on the teeth aren't wiped off. Acid gathers on a tooth, weakening its enamel until cavity forms.
Here's how you can keep cavities away:
- Teach your children to brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and floss routinely.
- With daily use of fluoride toothpaste, acid cannot penetrate the enamel easily. If your tap water isn’t fluoridated or your family consumes purified water, you should get fluoride supplements from your dentist. Fluoridated toothpaste alone will not completely ensure a child’s teeth, in such a case, supplements will help. However, be aware that too much of fluoride can result in tooth staining.
- Limit the consumption of sugary foods, drinks, and candies as they can corrode enamel and cause pits. Tell your kids to brush their teeth every time they eat something to clean away the sugar.
- As the permanent teeth grow in, your child’s dentist can help avert decomposition by administering a thin resin wash (a sealant) to the back teeth from where one chews the most. This defensive coating prevents bacteria from settling in the difficult crevices of the molars.
What Kind of Dental Problems Can Happen?
If you’re vulnerable to tooth rot or gum infection, chances are so will your children. In such cases, even the appropriately done brushing and flossing habits might fail to keep a cavity. Make sure you consult a dentist whenever your child grumbles about a toothache. This would probably indicate a cavity requiring treatment.
Today, pediatric dentists have more repair and filling options with new materials than before. Amalgam (a silver-colored mix of metals) was once a choice for the majority of fillings in permanent teeth. Now, materials like resins are getting common. Resins cling to the teeth so the filling won’t come out. Furthermore, they can be used to remake teeth affected by injury or cleft palate. Resins are more attractive because they are tooth-colored.
In situations of extensive decay, abnormality of baby teeth, or fracture, dentists prefer ceramic or stainless steel crowns. Crowns prevent the decay while maintaining the tooth.
As your kids grow, plan on regular dental visits twice a year, based on your dentist’s recommendations. Encouraging routine brushing and flossing, regular dental visits, and keeping a check on sugary foods in-take will collectively lead to your child’s good dental health.