Everyone is aware that humans have two set of teeth- milk teeth as a child and permanent teeth as adults. The milk teeth first appear at the age of 6 months and are the only teeth a child has until the age of 6 years. Around the age of 6-7 years, starts the sequential shedding of the milk teeth and subsequent eruption on the adult teeth until the age of 14 years. This age from 6 to 14 years is called the Mixed Dentition period, wherein the child has both milk and adult teeth. By the age of 14 years, all the permanent teeth should have erupted.
How important do you think the milk teeth are? Are you of the opinion that they can be neglected because they are going to shed eventually? If your answer is yes, then you are sadly mistaken… Healthy milk teeth are the stepping stones for healthy adult teeth! And that’s exactly why there is an entire branch of dentistry known as Pediatric and Preventive dentistry that provides exclusive dental care for kids right from birth up to the age of 14 years!
Here are a few eye-opening child dental care tips:
- 1. Your child’s teeth start developing during your pregnancy. It is important to have a balanced diet throughout your pregnancy.
- 2. Even before your baby’s first tooth comes up, you must clean your baby’s gums and tongue after each feed with a moist soft cloth wrapped on your finger.
- 3. Start bi-annual dental check-ups for your child once the first tooth erupts. This will help in early identification and correction of any dental problems.
- 4. Never let your baby fall asleep with a milk bottle in the mouth. Sugars from the milk that stick onto the teeth for long will cause multiple teeth to decay, a condition known as Baby Bottle Caries. For the same reason, avoid feeding sugary foods and clean your baby’s mouth after each feed.
- 5. Once your child’s first tooth erupts, start using a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush.
- 6. After the age of two years, cultivate the habit of brushing your child’s teeth twice daily.
- 7. Do not instil any fear of dental treatment in your child based on your treatment experiences. Let the child have his/her own dental experience. This helps the child co-operate better.
- 8. Ask your dentist about decay preventive treatments for your child such as Fluoride applications and Pit and Fissure Sealants.
- 9. If you spot any decay on your child’s milk tooth, immediately visit the dentist and get it checked. Timely treatment with a simple filling can prevent a future root canal or extraction.
- 10. If your child loses a milk tooth much earlier than its scheduled shedding time, check with your dentist if your child needs a space maintainer. Early loss of milk teeth can cause the permanent teeth to erupt in wrong positions and may make your child a candidate for braces in future. It can also lead to uncomfortable chewing and hamper speech development.
- 11. If your child participates in contact sports, ask your dentist about Mouth guards. They are simple devices that help protect your child’s teeth while playing sports.
- 12. Once your child is old enough, ensure he/she rinses his/her mouth well after each meal.
- 13. Explain your child the importance of a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and fibre for his/her dental health.
To know more about dental care for kids, please get in touch with us at The Maxfac Clinic on +91 8879745345. We are a Super-Speciality Dental Clinic in South Mumbai, at Lamington Road.