While caring for your child’s teeth lets understand a little bit about dentition. Teeth are growing embedded in the gums even before a baby is born. There are 2 types of teeth, the milk teeth, which are 20 in number, they start to erupt between 4 to 12 months of age and by the age of 2 to 3 years kids have had all their 20 milk teeth. Now, permanent teeth are 32 in number and they erupt after the milk teeth have fallen off by age of 6 years and most of these have been erupted by age 13 years. However, the wisdom teeth can erupt between 17 to 25 years of age. Now, you need to take care of a teeth from an early age, as kids with healthy teeth often grow up to have healthy teeth as adults.
What are dental caries? Dental caries are nothing but cavities and they are one of the most common infectious diseases of early childhood. Now, the bacteria that is stuck on the teeth, what we call as plaque reacts with the sugar in the food and drinks and produces acid which can destroy the enamel on the teeth and cause cavities. Now, what are the causes for cavities? Prolonged exposure of the teeth to sugary substances from frequent sipping of a fruit juice or sweetened beverages, going to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice or eating sticky candy. Dental erosion can occur from fizzy drinks and poor oral hygiene, where improper and inadequate brushing leading to plaque formation can predispose you to cavities.
We can incorporate some dietary changes to prevent cavities. These include, do not introduce juice for infants until they are ready to drink it from a cup. Do not let your baby go to bed with a bottle of milk and discourage waking up at night for feeds in older infants. Limit the frequency of sugar consumption to just meal times and not in between, definitely reduce or avoid drinking fizzy drinks.
How do we clean these teeth? You need to start cleaning the milk teeth and when they erupt in infants by rubbing it with a clean napkin, twice daily. Maintain good oral hygiene by making it a routine for your child to brush twice daily and not to eat or drink anything after the bed time brushing. Ensure proper brushing technique by using a soft medium brush and supervise your child to make sure that they place the brush at a 45 degree angle with short gentle strokes, move the tooth brush from the gums towards the edge of the teeth and back and forth motion for the chewing surfaces and brush the inner surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. Now, once the child understands not to swallow tooth paste, then you can use a pea sized amount of tooth paste to brush.
Now when to make your visits to the dentist? Make sure your child sees a paediatric dentist after his first birthday and there after every 6 months for a dental check-up. If the child develops sensitivity to cold and sweet, it could indicate cavity formation and you should visit your dentist. Now, if there is a fall or injury to the teeth causing pain and discoloration or if a tooth falls out then place the tooth in a cup of milk and go see your dentist right away.
Team Ovum Hospitals