Do you care about your child's smile? Then it’s time to think and take action about your child’s oral health.
In order to help you keep your child’s teeth healthy, we spoke to Dr. Uzma Shamim an expert dentist. We present to you the excerpt from the conversation to promote dental hygiene awareness.So you can avoid the common mistakes parents make regarding their children's oral health.
The American Dental Association has named February National Children’s Dental Health Month to help promote better dental care for kids.
What are the mistakes parents make when it comes to child dental health?
When it comes to dental care parents tend to overlook until children complain of toothache. That’s why lots of children have small holes in tooth, called a cavity, and if this tooth decay is not treated, it can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss. Poor oral hygiene and a high sugary diet are common reasons for tooth decay (dental caries) and gum disease (periodontal).
Mistake 1: Visiting a dentist after the damage is done
Most of the patients who come to us are not aware of how tooth decay and gum disease affects you in the long run. They come when the damage is already done.” A lot of young children are at risk for “early childhood tooth decay” which is severe tooth decay in baby teeth.
Mistake 2: Believing that baby teeth or milk teeth are not important
A lot of us believe that you don’t need to worry about the milk teeth. It’s a misconception that they do not play an important role as these teeth fall off in a few years. Taking care of milk teeth are crucial for a child’s future oral health as they are the ones which hold space for permanent teeth to come out properly at later age.
Mistake 3: Not paying enough attention to children's teeth and oral hygiene
Many parents don't brush their children's teeth regularly until they have a full set. When your baby's first tooth comes through, this is the right time to start regular brushing.
Mistake 4: Allowing babies to sleep with their bottle
A lot of parents allow their child to sleep with the bottle. Do not let a child sleep with their milk bottle at night.
Yes, you are right! A lot of us tend to make these mistakes unknowingly. Can you brief us on milk teeth since lot of misconceptions are around milk teeth.
What age baby get their milk teeth?
Babies have 20 primary or milk teeth. They are already present in the jaws at birth. You can’t see them because they are under the gums of a baby’s mouth. They begin to appear when the baby is 6 months to 1-year-old. And these “baby teeth” first start growing beneath the gums while the baby is still in the womb during the second trimester of pregnancy.
What do we need to worry about milk teeth?
These milk teeth maintain space and act as a guide to give proper space for permanent teeth to come out properly. Also, they help in the proper development of the jaw or bones of their mouth and muscles.
Besides, they give children better eating or chewing capabilities, beautiful smiles, and raise child self-confidence.
Is there any time period for the milk teeth to fall? What happens if these teeth fall prematurely or earlier than expected?
When a baby tooth is lost too early (or prematurely ), the permanent teeth which are expected to come out later, move into the available empty space, affecting the proper teeth arrangement of the incoming or permanent teeth.
This is the common reason for crooked (or crowded) teeth where the proper shape or alignment gets disrupted in the mouth, creating many difficulties for the child.
What if the child has crooked teeth or the teeth are not in the proper shape or position?
The major problem with having crooked teeth is that maintaining good oral hygiene in young children gets difficult. They aren’t able to brush their teeth properly, which leads to tooth decay and cavities.
Often children face low self-esteem or feel less confident due to crooked or misaligned teeth. Few even find it difficult to talk clearly.
At what age should a baby first see a dentist?
It is recommended that the first visit to a dentist should be within the six months of their first tooth starting to erupt or come out.
A dentist can check for any other problems. They can show you how to clean the child's teeth properly and how to handle habits, like thumb sucking, a common habit in children.
Now a few suggestions for healthy teeth.
Tips for maintaining healthy teeth in children's:
Newborn baby: Ensure you clean the mouth of the newborn baby:
You should clean your baby’s mouth after the first few days of birth. It can be done by wiping the gums with a clean, moist washcloth or cotton cloth or gauge. Because tooth decay or cavities can form as soon as teeth come out (or erupt) in the baby’s mouth.
Children younger than 3 years:
For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as their teeth come or erupt into the mouth.
Brushing can be done using fluoride-based toothpaste, the amount not more than the size of a grain of rice.
It is recommended to brush teeth twice a day, especially in the night before they go to sleep. A lot of parents find it challenging, but once you develop the right habits early, it stays.
Parents or caregivers can brush their child’s teeth at least once a day until they are at age of 5-6 years, while second time brushing in a day child can also do (at this age they get cavities).
Don’t forget to supervise children’s proper brushing method and to younger children remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
Routine dental appointments are a solution to many dental health issues, specially in children.
If you want to learn more about keeping your child’s teeth healthy or to schedule an exam for your child, Dr. Uzma Shamim, at Always Smile Dental Care is happy to help. To consult her, book an appointment now.