You child’s baby teeth will start to come through at around 6 months and will usually remain with them until the age of 13 or 14 year-olds.
Even though your child’s baby teeth will be replaced, they are still important as they act as placeholders for their adult teeth and also allow your children to speak clearly and eat properly.
Here are 5 oral health concerns that you should be aware of about your child’s teeth:
1. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
You can prevent your child from getting Baby Bottle Tooth Decay by starting them on an oral hygiene checkup cycle soon after they are born, basically initiating them into pediatric dentistry. You can begin by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping his gums with a clean pad which will prevent any buildup of plaque for any teeth that are coming through. Make sure to brush them with a specially prescribed child’s toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child’s teeth begin to come through.
Add only formula, breast milk or regular milk in your child’s feeding bottle and avoid adding sugary liquids like juice or soda. Ensure that your infant finishes his bedtime bottle before heading to bed as falling asleep with unswallowed milk in his mouth can lead to tooth decay.
Sucking is a natural reflex and young children suck their fingers and other things to find solace in them as it helps them relax and feel safe. Most children usually stop sucking by the age of 4 years but if your child continues to suck, this can be a problem as it affects your child’s teeth alignment. If your child simply puts his fingers in his mouth in a passive way then he will face less of a problem whereas children who tend to suck hard will tend to have unaligned teeth.
3. Early Childhood Decay (ECC)
ECC is a pretty common and severe form of cavities found in young children around the age of 0-4 years. If this is not treated in time, then the decay will probably spread into the tooth, causing pain, infection and even damage the underlying adult tooth. This can lead to having your child’s teeth removed if not treated in time.
If your child happens to lose a baby tooth early then other teeth can move into its place and block the adult teeth which may throw his teeth out of alignment.
This is where you can use space maintainers which will hold the missing space for your child’s prematurely missing teeth. Your child losing his primary teeth can lead to his adult teeth surfacing in the empty spaces instead of where they’re supposed to. This causes a problem of having a cramped set of teeth later on as there won’t be enough space left when the rest of the adult teeth start to come through.
4. Dental Emergencies
Kids will be kids right? So dental emergencies are bound to occur from time to time as well but they can be better handled if you are prepared. Here are 6 dental tips to keep in mind when you and your child experience a dental emergency:
• Keep the knocked out tooth moist. Try inserting the tooth back into its socket without touching the root. If that is not possible then simply place it between your child’s gum and cheek or even in milk. Make sure to call your dentist immediately.
• If your child’s tooth has a crack, have him rinse out his mouth with warm water immediately to clean the tooth. Apply cold compresses to keep the swelling down.
• If your child bites his tongue or lip during a sporting event, clean the area gently and apply a cold compress. Mouthguards are fantastic alternatives to prevent this from happening in the first place; they should be worn whenever your child is taking part in any recreational activity. Mouthguards tend to cushion blows that would usually break teeth, cause injuries to the face and can fend off jaw fractures.
• For toothaches, have your child rinse his mouth with warm water to have it cleaned out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught in the teeth. Do not apply aspirin anywhere in your child’s mouth.
• If any objects are stuck in your child’s mouth, try to gently remove them with floss, don’t use any other objects.
5. Bad Bites
This is a condition whereby the teeth are crooked, crowded and out of alignment and the jaws may not meet properly. Bad bites become particularly defined between the ages of 6-12 when your child’s permanent teeth are starting to come through. If this condition is not curbed early on then keeping the teeth and gums clean becomes difficult as the teeth are crooked and crowded which increases the chances of cavities and gum disease.
This also affects:
• The proper development of your child’s jaws.
• Puts your child’s protruding teeth at risk of chips and fractures
• Affects your child’s eating and speaking habits.
• This wears out some of your child’s teeth faster than others due to unaligned teeth.
Make sure that you consult your family dentist before you go ahead with taking care of your child’s oral health. I hope that you found this article useful and you use the knowledge to prepare for your child’s dental emergencies.
Great Article Dr. Michael. I liked the way you broke down the article into easy-to-read sections. I still disagree that thumb sucking is bad. It’s natural habit of children and every child does it. I keep my children busy in other activities so they forget to suck their thumb ;)
11 September 2017