The first teeth to appear usually are the two bottom front teeth, also known as the central incisors.
Good dental care begins even before a baby's first tooth appears. Just because you can't see the teeth doesn't mean they aren't there. Teeth actually begin to form in the second trimester of pregnancy. At birth, your baby has 20 primary teeth, some of which are fully developed in the jaw.
Healthy baby teeth are a vehicle towards physical, emotional, and social development - all spheres. They do so by:
- Ensuring excellent nutrition through proper chewing
- Helping the initiation and development of speech
- Allowing a child to learn well and pay attention in school without pain
- Raising self-esteem by providing a bright and beautiful smile
The First Steps of Baby’s Dental Care
Even before your baby starts teething, run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria.
When your baby gets teeth, brush them with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). Fluoride-based toothpastes are good. Keep the quantities small.
When two of your baby's teeth touch each other, you can begin flossing between them.
Around age 2, your child should learn to spit while brushing. Avoid giving your child water to swish and spit because this can make swallowing toothpaste more likely.
Kids age 3 and up should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Always supervise kids younger than 8 while brushing, as they're likely to swallow toothpaste.
Can babies get tooth decay?
Yes, babies can get tooth decay. Babies who sleep while drinking from a bottle are at risk. Sugars from juice, formula, or milk that stay on a baby's teeth for hours can eat away at the enamel (the layer of the tooth that protects against tooth decay). This can lead to "bottle mouth" or "baby bottle tooth decay." When this happens, the front teeth can get discoloured, pocked, and pitted. Cavities might form and, in severe cases, the decayed teeth might need to be pulled.
When kids are 6 months old, they can switch from a bottle to a sippy cup. This helps prevent liquid from pooling around a child's teeth. By their first birthday, they'll have the motor skills and coordination to use the cup on their own.
Are there any negative effects of Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking?
Pacifiers are helpful in making babies feel secure and comfortable. But, they do come with their issues so don’t overuse. Look at some of these guidelines:
- If a baby needs it to go to sleep, take it out once the baby is asleep.
- Never coat a pacifier in any sweet solution.
- Sanitise and replace pacifiers often.
- If an infant is breastfeeding, do not introduce a pacifier until the baby is 1 month of age to make sure breastfeeding is solidly and successfully established.
- Never use a pacifier in place of or as a way to delay meals. Only offer a pacifier when you are sure the baby is not hungry.
- Pacifiers should include ventilation holes and have a shield that is wider than the baby’s mouth.
- Pacifiers should be made of durable material and only consist of a single piece.
- Always replace a pacifier when it starts to look worn.
- Never tie a pacifier by a string to a crib or around a baby’s hand or neck. This highly increases the risk of strangulation.
When Should Kids See a Dentist?
Experts recommend that one should not wait for issues. All children should see a dentist by their first birthday. At this first visit, the dentist will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques and do a modified exam while your baby sits on your lap.
Look for a good paediatric dentist. They can do a good evaluation. They also know when to refer you to a different type of specialist, such as an orthodontist to correct an overbite or an oral surgeon for jaw realignment.
If a child seems to be at risk for cavities or other problems, the dentist may start applying topical fluoride even before all teeth come in. Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, helping to ward off the most common childhood oral disease — dental cavities.
How Can We Prevent Cavities in Children?
Cavities happen when bacteria and food left on the teeth after eating are not brushed away. Acid collects on a tooth, softening its enamel until a hole — or cavity — forms.
Just some good discipline is needed to prevent cavities.
Start good oral habits early. Teach kids to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and to floss regularly.
Get enough fluoride. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate.
Limit or avoid junk foods. Sugary foods, juices, candy (especially sticky gummy candy, gummy vitamins, or fruit leather or "roll-ups") can erode enamel and cause cavities. If your kids eat these foods, have them rinse their mouths or brush their teeth after eating to wash away the sugar. The same goes for taking sweetened liquid medicines: always have kids rinse or brush afterward.
As your child's permanent teeth grow in, the dentist can help prevent decay by applying a thin wash of resin (called a sealant) to the back teeth, where most chewing is done. This protective coating keeps bacteria from settling in the hard-to-reach crevices of the molars. But make sure that kids know that sealants aren't a replacement for good brushing and regular flossing.
What Dental Problems Can Happen?
How are your teeth, parents? If you have had issues, your children can inherit them. What are common dental problems -
- Cavities are the most common. Fillings may be needed. Newer filling options are available and resins bonds help rebuild damage.
- If there are dental fractures, chipped teeth or extensive decay, or malformation of baby teeth, dentists will suggest stainless steel or ceramic crowns. Crowns maintain the tooth while preventing the decay from spreading.
- In some rare instances, if a more complicated dental procedure is needed, a dentist will recommend using general anaesthesia. Please go with a trained anesthesiologist or oral surgeon, preferably, at a reputed hospital and not a small clinic. Don't be afraid to ask your dentist questions.
In summation, regular checkups and good dental hygiene can help prevent any situation in which the child may require extensive dental work. Also, encourage your kids to use a mouthguard during sports, which can prevent serious dental injuries.