Basic Information – Dental Care For Children
It’s never too early to start protecting your children’s teeth. Dental care for children starts when you are cleaning your infant’s teeth as soon as he gets his first tooth. At first you can use a wash cloth, then, as he gets more teeth, you can start to use a soft children’s toothbrush. There is a danger if your child gets too much fluoride. Most brands of kids’ toothpaste is fluoridated, but that doesn’t make it safe for your child to swallow too much. So use a small pea size amount of toothpaste on the brush and encourage him to spit the toothpaste out.
Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene and a child can usually begin flossing once he is between 3 and 4 years of age, but it is likely he won’t be able to floss on his own until the age of 8-10.
Dental health for kids starts in an early visit to the dentist during his formative years. This is a good way to learn proper oral hygiene, including proper tooth brushing and a correct diet. Above all, set your child a good example by regularly brushing and flossing yourself, and adopting a sensible, nutritious diet. If the child doesn’t see good dental habits in its parents, it is unlikely he will develop these good habits on his own.
There are some conditions affecting the teeth which are unique to children and which should be monitored carefully by the parent. One of these is bottle decay. Bottle decay is a condition of rampant decay in children who have a bottle of milk or sugary fluid in bed at night. Baby teeth are softer than adult teeth and hence will decay more easily. Having milk or a sugary fluid at night will result in the teeth becoming coated in the sugary substance which will cause decay and will also result in reducing the flow of saliva at night which in turn further increases the risk of decay.
Bottle decay first causes decay to occur in the upper front teeth and then for decay to appear in the upper and lower back teeth.
Dental care for children is best observed by sensible management practices. If your baby needs to have a bottle to sleep, use plain water. Stop the use of a bottle completely when the child turns one and see a dentist immediately if you see a brown stain on the baby’s teeth which cannot be removed with a toothbrush. Most children can be treated for this problem in the dentist’s chair, but for very young children, a general anesthetic may be required, so all the work can be done in one go.
A second problem unique to young children is thumb-sucking. This is a common habit of many babies and toddlers and it can comfort them and help them fall asleep. Most young children will stop this habit on their own or due to peer pressure. It usually has very little bad effect, but there are some potential problems.
The upper front teeth may be pushed out, resulting in buck teeth. An open bite may develop so there is a gap between the upper and lower teeth. The child may start breathing through his mouth and it is possible that the upper jaw may become distorted. Calluses may appear on his thumbs or fingers or he may develop cracked fingers.
Most of these problems will correct themselves once the habit stops. Gentle ways to stop your child sucking is to simply remind him not to put his thumb in his mouth. A band-aid can be placed around the thumbs at the time of the day that the child is likely to suck. If they suck in bed, your child can wear an oversize pajama top with the sleeves sewn up.
For children who simply cannot stop the habit, you may need to see an orthodontist and get a special appliance fitted on the jaw to block the comfortable position of the thumb in the mouth.
Careful attention to your child’s teeth will result in a healthy, happy child with a beautiful smile. As soon as he can manage it, encourage your child to take responsibility for his own oral health and you will be rewarded with your concern over dental care for children by seeing your child confident and trouble-free.…