How many times do you remind your kid to brush his or her teeth every day? As children, we rarely understood the importance of dental care and oral health. It is quite reasonable for children to think of brushing as a waste of time. It is also quite reasonable for their parents to feel frustrated about it. Health recommendations, facts, and news have continuously changed, but a dentist’s view on oral care has not changed much.
In a world where candies and sugary drinks are available everywhere, it is common for a parent to feel concerned about their children’s oral health. Parents have uncountable questions about their child’s oral care, food habits, and dental health. Finding the answers can help them guide their children towards healthy smiles.
Let Stuart Curry Dentistry help you out by answering some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about children’s teeth and dental health.
1. Why should parents be concerned about healthy baby teeth, especially when they fall out later?
Milk teeth or baby teeth are important since their alignment will determine your child’s speech and bite. Your child’s facial structure will considerably depend on his or her baby teeth. They are also the placeholders for adult teeth. Children, who don’t brush regularly may lose their teeth earlier than usual or suffer from infections. Unhealthy teeth can result in poor eating habits, crooked permanent teeth, improper digestion and speech problems in children. Infections and cavities can quickly move from one milk teeth to another or one baby teeth to adult teeth resulting in a vicious cycle. Therefore, having perfect oral health is essential irrespective of one’s age.
2. Is thumb suckling or pacifiers harmful to baby teeth?
Thumb sucking and pacifiers typically don’t cause trouble for children, unless they carry it forward beyond the age of 4-years. You should try to limit their thumb sucking or pacifier time as they grow older. Most kids stop sucking on their thumb as they grow up. However, if they have not given up the habit by the age of 3-years, you should speak to your dentist regarding ways to prevent dental structure damage.
3. When should children begin brushing on their own? When should they use toothpaste?
Brushing is not something that most children pick up on their own. At first, you will need to use a wet, super soft toothbrush without toothpaste to get them used to the motions. Once they are two-years-old, you can give them a pea-sized amount of regular children’s fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure they don’t swallow the toothpaste. Fluoride can cause tummy upsets, and it is common for children to ingest toothpaste since it is minty sweet. If you have particular concerns including bad breath or discoloration of baby teeth, you might want to talk to your pediatric dentist about special toothpaste. Most dentists do not recommend mouthwash for young kids. It is imperative to help your child master brushing techniques up until they are about 7 or 8 years old, after which they develop the fine motor coordination necessary to brush on their own.
4. What is baby bottle decay? How can I prevent it?
Baby bottle decay is something that happens when milk, baby formula, fruit juice and other liquids containing (natural or added) sugar remain on the child’s teeth for extended periods. This sugar on the teeth serves as premium food for bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria release toxins and acidic compounds that can attack the baby teeth causing decay. Severely affected baby teeth sometimes require removal. It is essential to clean the bottle after each feeding and wipe your baby’s gums and teeth after each meal. You may use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean his or her teeth if your dentist recommends it. It is essential to schedule regular dental appointments to keep an eye on his or her dental health.
5. What are sealants? Should a child get dental sealants?
Brushing and flossing regularly should be able to keep plaque and tartar formation on milk teeth on a check. Sometimes, even after regular brushing children develop cavities in their milk teeth. Sealants can keep a child’s teeth safe from cavities and decay. They can keep food particles out of the dental grooves. It is common to find minuscule food particles stuck on the molars. It is not possible to get into the nooks and crannies for cleaning. Children are usually susceptible to cavities between the ages of 6 and 14. Sealants can protect their permanent molars when parents choose to get sealants as soon as the permanent teeth replace their milk teeth. Most insurance policies cover the cost of sealants. Speak to your dentist and insurance provider to learn more about dental sealant costs.
6. When should children get braces?
There is no “right” age for a child to get his or her first braces. It depends on the child’s teeth and alignment. If they appear crooked to you, consult your orthodontist. You should try to schedule their first appointment at the orthodontist by the time they are seven. Getting the braces in early, as soon as the permanent teeth start coming out can prevent future misalignments. Some expert orthodontics state that the age between 10 and 14 years is ideal for beginning all forms of orthodontic treatment. In short, you should wait and watch for signs of overcrowding, crookedness, and misalignment when their permanent teeth come out.
Finding the right answers to all questions parents have about their child’s oral care is essential. If you have not found the answers to any specific question you have in mind, be sure to ask your orthodontist or dental surgeon in your next appointment. Pediatric dentists specialize in the dental care and procedures of children. They have a better understanding of children’s oral care needs. If your child is facing trouble while teething or brushing his or her milk teeth, you should take them to a pediatric dentist first. A child should have at least a couple of visits to the dentist by the time he or she is 1-year old.