Written by Dr Harini Krishnan
As a parent the most exciting and nerve wrecking phase is probably when the child’s first tooth pops out: the innocent one toothed smile is indeed a delight to witness!
As we all know, humans are bestowed with two amazing sets of dentitions. First is the milk teeth set and the second is the permanent set of teeth.
Milk teeth do not come all at once or fall off all at once. There is a natural sequence in which the milk teeth erupt and fall off for each child before the permanent teeth come in!
The Milk teeth, technically known as the primary teeth, are the first set of teeth that arrive in our mouth. These teeth begin to pop out by 6 months, and we can probably see all 20 teeth by the time a child is between 2-3 years of age.
With the eruption of teeth into the mouth, comes a certain amount of discomfort in children, what we call as TEETHING. There are a few symptoms that parents should watch out for during the teething process.
The child will have symptoms like pain in the region, fever, diarrhea and drooling. These symptoms are completely normal and usually subside as the tooth completely pops out.
It is time that we possibly move away from the myth that milk teeth don’t need their due attention! Just because they are transient does not mean they are not important!
Expert pediatric dentists at Growing Smiles, a dental care center located in Whitefield, Bengaluru which is exclusively for kids, say that one needs to start the oral care at the very beginning.
Taking care of those pearly whites begin even before they come out. All you have to do is wipe the mouth with a wet washcloth after every feed, and yes even after those late night feeds! It is these small steps that go a long way in ensuring the whites remain white.
Once the teeth start popping out, you can add toothbrushes to your armor. Start using children’s toothpaste from the very beginning.
Here are some guidelines of using toothpaste :
Just smear the toothpaste on the brush
Pea size amount of toothpaste can be used
Brushing and flossing! This is one habit that we would love to see our child develop. While it’s imperative that the child brushes twice daily, it is important to brush at night right before going to bed. The most important rule however is to SWISH AND SPIT after every meal.
Just adding a tiny note on your oral health armory:
The most common issue that plagues the teeth of children inevitably is dental decay. It usually starts as a non-suspecting brown/black dot on the surface of the teeth, soon progressing into large cavities.
The best way to troubleshoot is to prevent them from happening at all! A good oral hygiene maintenance with regular dental visits is a sure way of keeping cavities at bay.
Make a visit to a pediatric dentist immediately.
Cavities found and treated at the initial stages warrant for lesser invasive procedures (vis-à-vis a filling or a medicated filling). If cavities progress further, a root canal treatment has to be given or the affected teeth have to be extracted as a last option. A well-tailored conservative and preventive regimen given to you by your pediatric dentist will ensure your child’s teeth are well taken care of.
The second most common yet the most distressing issue of them all is an accident. Accidents are called so for a reason; they are unpredictable. Children are more so prone due to their high activity levels (yes sports included!)
Visit your pediatric dentist immediately when the child’s tooth falls out following an incident or any bleeding or discomfort in the oral cavity!
Parents who have children taking part in contact sports take note : A mouth guard is a useful appliance that can be used to prevent such dental injuries!
When left in their pristine condition, the milk teeth start to sway and give way for their successors usually by the age of 6. The mixed dentition phase of the child usually lasts between 6-12 years of age.
Any disharmony in this process could usually hamper the arrival of the permanent teeth as well. Thus an emphasis of a regular check up must be brought here! If any intervention is required, the earlier the better continues to stand strong!
While most of us are at crossroads to decide how important the milk teeth are, let’s paint a picture of what could happen if you did not take care:
While parents strive hard to give the best for their child, why not do the best for them in this domain as well!
Well to say the least this team of 20 holds the blueprint of all 32 coming ahead, and it clearly ain’t no small task 🙂
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