Taking care of your child’s mouth begins from birth. From this time you can set the stage for a good oral health for your child. During development of the dentition, there are two sets of teeth. The first set is the milk teeth and the second set is the permanent teeth. Even though the milk teeth are only in the mouth for a few years, it is important to care for them because they have very important roles to play. Your baby not only chews with these teeth, but these teeth help them speak, help in development of the jaws and also provide the space that the permanent ones will erupt into starting from ages 5 to 7.
It is important to know what happens in your child’s mouth at the different stages of development of the dentition and also what you can do to alleviate any pain or discomfort your child may experience.
By 0-6 months, your child’s baby teeth usually prepare to erupt. The lower front teeth usually precede the upper.
From 6-24 months, the teeth start to emerge, usually in pairs, beginning with the lower front teeth called incisors. The permanent teeth start to form underneath the gums.
From 2-5 years, the roots of these baby teeth start to dissolve so the permanent ones can come out.
The ages of 5-8 years usually marks the eruption of the permanent lower and upper front teeth (incisors) and also the first permanent molars.
From 8 to 12 years, more of the milk teeth fall off to give way for other permanent teeth to erupt.
How to care for your infant’s teeth
As your baby’s milk teeth prepare to emerge, your baby may experience sore gums. Some teething tips include gently rubbing on the gums with your fingers or giving the baby a teething ring to chew. Teething gels are also available but for children younger than 2 years, avoid the ones containing benzocaine.
Just like adult teeth and gums, your baby’s milk teeth and gums should also cleaned. After each meal, wipe your baby’s gums with a soft cloth that is moist. This helps him or her get accustomed to the practise of good oral hygiene.
How to care for your toddler’s teeth
Then when the first tooth erupts, start using a soft brush. As soon as your baby can spit out, you can start using a smear of tooth paste to brush his or her teeth. To prevent decay of your child’s teeth, you should minimize the time that the teeth come in contact with sugar-containing foods and drinks such as juice or formula. Visit a dentist regularly for dental check-up and not just when your child has a complaint. This is so that problems can be detected and treated early and also so that professional cleaning can be done.
Caring for Your Young athlete’s teeth
Supervise your child’s brushing and flossing daily until they’re old enough
Always make sure your child wears a mouth guard when engaged in contact sports because apart from saving your child’s teeth, they also protect the jaws and they would cost you much less than it would cost you to treat an injury!
An unhealthy mouth is an unhealthy child. Knowing how to care for your child’s teeth is crucial in keeping your child in optimum health. Visit your dentist for other ways to give your child a healthy mouth.