Child Health: Oral Habits And Tooth Decay
The child’s baby teeth are always at a risk for early decay as soon as they first appear- which in general happens around 6 months of the child’s age. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often known as Baby-Bottle-Tooth-Decay. This typically happens in the upper front teeth, but often other teeth also get affected by this malady. In many a cases, this tooth decay in infants and toddlers gets so severe, that their teeth cannot be saved and thus needs to be removed from its root.
However, the good news is that child tooth decay is preventable. Most of the children have their full set of teeth by the time they get 3 years old. In fact, as the child grows, their jaws also get enlarged, making room for their permanent teeth.
How To Clean Infant’s Teeth?
Always clean the baby’s mouth right after the first few days by wiping the gums with moist and clean washcloth. In general the baby’s front four teeth pushes out through the gums at about 6 months of age, although it has been even noticed that some toddlers don’t grow their first tooth until they are 12 to 14 months.
For all those children who are less than 3 years of age, parents and caregivers of the child must brush their children’s tooth as soon as they begin to appear, using fluoride toothpaste (in an amount no more than the size of a rice grain). It’s best to brush the child’s teeth twice every day or as directed by the physician.
For those children who has crossed 3 years and are between 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (fluoride). Brush their teeth twice every day, or as directed by the dentist. During these years, supervise the children by reminding them to brush daily and let them not sallow down the toothpaste.
When the child has grown two teeth that touches each other, it’s also the right time to begin flossing the teeth.
Teething is considered as the first biological ritual in any child’s life. Although newborn babies don’t have any teeth, within the first few years of the child’s life, most children have their full set of 20 teeth, by the time they are 3 years old.
It is often been seen that during the teething age some of the babies become sleepless, fussy and irritable. They lose their appetites or drool more than before.
However, rashes, diarrhea and fever are not usual symptoms of teething, and so if your baby is suffering from diarrhea or fever and also gets cranky while teething, consult your infant’s pediatrician immediately.
When to Go For the First Dental Visit?
Pragmatically speaking, as soon as the baby’s first tooth appears- it’s time to take your child for a dental visit. The IDA (Indian Dental Association) suggests that the first dental visit of any child, should be within 6 months from the first appearance of the teeth, but not later than their first birthday. Always get your child accustomed to good oral health habits.
Since the first visit of the child to a dentist’s clinic involves routine check of the child’s oral cavity and growth and development of the child’s jaw, you must try to make the child feel comfortable, rested and cooperative.
Here are certain tips to make your child’s dental visit a positive endeavor:
- Keep yourself calm as the child can become restless and cranky by picking up on your anxiety.
- Never make use of a “dental visit” as a threat or a punishing act to the child.
- Never bribe your child for any dental visits.
- Keep talking calmly to your child while consulting the dentist.
Need for Fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral that is found naturally in all water sources across the globe. However, fluoride is also added to some community tap water, mouth rinses and toothpastes. Not receiving adequate amount of fluoride can increase the risk of tooth decay in infants as fluorides aids in making the tooth enamel more resistant to tooth decay. So use fluoride supplements if your community water is not fluoridated after discussing the baby’s fluoride needs with the child’s pediatrician or dentist.
Young children and infants often suck on their thumb or pacifiers. Pacifiers those that contains or are dipped in sugar, juice, sweetened drinks and honey- leads to tooth decay.
It has also been noticed on several occasions that baby’s tooth decay can also begin, when cavity causing bacteria passes from saliva in a caregiver’s or mother’s mouth to the baby. So never, clean your baby’s spoon or pacifier by sucking them in your mouth.