Every parent enjoys their child’s smile, from their first smile and beyond.
Here we look at a few common concerns that parents often have about the dental health of their young children.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Babies can develop dental problems like Early Childhood Carries or Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. However, you can keep your little one from undergoing such an experience by starting an oral hygiene practice. Set a routine within the first few days after his or her birth. Clean the baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean gauze pad to eliminate plaque therein, protecting erupting teeth.
And when the baby’s teeth come in, use a child’s size toothbrush with a bit of fluoride toothpaste – the size of a rice grain – and brush the teeth gently. When bottle-feeding, give the baby breast milk, formula, or the recommended milk product. Also, avoid giving your little one sugary beverage like soda and juice. Make sure the baby is done with feeding before their nap time.
Accidents are an unexpected event that can occur anytime, anywhere. But how well to respond is what counts. Therefore, knowing how to handle your child’s dental emergency can mean the difference between losing and saving your baby’s permanent tooth. The prudent thing to do for all dental emergencies is to take your infant to the dentist.
Below are some handy tips worth remembers if your baby develops dental problems.
If the emergency is for a knocked-out tooth, you can save the tooth by keeping it moist. If possible, place it back in the socket. If you cannot do this, place the tooth in milk or between the baby’s gums and cheek.
If the emergency is for a cracked tooth, rinse the child’s mouth with warm water to help you locate the affected area. Use a cold compress to help minimize any swelling. Call the dentist and book the soonest appointment possible.
If your baby bites the lip or tongue, clean it gently using warm water and apply a cold compress to mitigate potential inflammation.
For toothaches, rinse and clean out the baby’s mouth with warm water. Use dental flow to gently get rid of any bits of food stuck between the teeth. Avoid using aspirin on the tooth or gums.
If the emergency entails objects stuck in the mouth, try using floss to gently remove it instead of using pointy or sharp instruments like toothpicks.
Sucking is a natural reaction, a reflex in babies and young children that has them sucking on their fingers, thumbs, pacifiers, or other things. Studies show that it makes them feel relaxed, safe, or happy. But kids can stop sucking by the time they are four years. However, if your child is still sucking on his or her thumb after the permanent teeth set in, it can lead to dental misalignment or an overbite problem.
The duration, intensity, and frequency of this habit determine the possibility of other dental problems occurring. For instance, little ones that rest their thumb passively in their mouths are less prone to difficulties than those that suck on their thumbs vigorously. If your baby’s sucking habits are a concern, discuss with his or her dentist or consult your baby’s pediatrician.
Dental space maintainers are designed to help hold room for the permanent teeth as they develop. Your baby might need the spacer, especially after the premature loss of a baby tooth before the permanent one is ready to grow.
The early loss of a primary tooth can result in empty space in the gums. It can result in a limited room for the adult tooth once they are ready to grow. To keep this from happening, the child’s pediatrician or dentist will recommend using a space maintainer to keep the empty space created by the lost tooth open.
Sealants can be a fast and practical way of protecting the teeth. It serves as a barrier, mainly when applied to the cavity-prone area.
Sealants can be applied to cover deep grooves and pits. It will not cause any significant discomfort to the baby while protecting the tooth surface from decay if the sealant is intact. Quality dental sealants hold well under standard chewing forces but might need a refill if necessary. It is an option that can help with your infant’s primary and permanent teeth.
Mouthguards are protective dental wear that can help lower the risk of dental emergencies. Your child should wear them whenever playing. They will cushion the teeth and gums from unexpected blows resulting in broken or knocked-out teeth and broken gums. You can ask your baby’s dentist or pediatrician to make custom-fitted mouth protectors.
Overbite, a bad bite, or malocclusion, is a dental condition where teeth are crooked, crowded, or misaligned because the jaws are not meeting correctly. It is particularly noticeable in kids aged 6 – 12 and develops when the permanent teeth are growing.
A bad bite or malocclusion can make it hard for the child to keep the teeth and gums clean if the condition is not corrected early. Moreover, crowded, or crooked teeth increase the chances of gum disease and cavities. It also can lead to the following:
Improper jaw development
Increased risk of tooth chipping and fractures
Hampers speaking and eating
The crooked and crowded teeth wear abnormally fast than the one aligned properly