Everything you need to know on how to care for you children's teeth. 10 dental health tips. From brushing their first tooth to their first trip to the dentist.
1. When Teeth Erupt
When you see an x ray of young children, it is miraculous to see all the teeth partially developed and hidden in the jaws just waiting to grow into the mouth. Your baby is born with all 20 primary teeth below the gums. These start coming through usually between 6 months and a year. Most children have their full set of teeth by 3 years old, although delays can occur this by as much as 3 years.
2. Teething Signs and Symptoms
Parents losing sleep while babies teethe is a common occurrence. Fussiness, sleeplessness, and irritability are telltale signs of teething, along with drooling and loss of appetite. Diarrhea, rashes, and a fever are not typically caused by teething. If your baby has these symptoms including fever, call your physician to rule out any other possible medical problems.
How to Soothe a Teething Baby
As teeth break through the gum lime your child will experiences soreness or tenderness in these areas. Gently rub their gums with a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad can be soothing. A cold teething ring to chew on may also help. Look for teethers made of solid rubber. liquid-filled teething rings or flimsy plastic objects that could break are a hazard and should be avoided.
Remember that some teethers are just not safe for your baby. Recently the CDC reported that an infant suffered lead poisoning from a homeopathic magnetic teething bracelet which had metal beads which contained lead.
Over the counter numbing gels with Benzocaine are also harmful. This medication can result in a rare condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the bloodstream called methemoglobinemia. Even though the label says Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase, these may not be a safe treatment for your baby. The FDA stated in 2018 that "These products carry serious risks and provide little to no benefits for treating oral pain, including sore gums in infants due to teething.”, so avoid their use entirely.
3. When to Start Brushing with Toothpaste
Teeth can decay as soon as they erupt. If you see some pearly whites peeking their crowns out start using fluoride toothpaste. Make sure use an exceedingly small, grain of rice sized amount, since swallowing a large amount of tooth paste for a little baby may be harmful. Find a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
4. How Much Toothpaste to Use
Since primary teeth are small and spaced apart, It doesn't take much time to clean your child's teeth. Up until the age of about 6, and your child can brush on his or her own, brush your child's teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush. Use an amount of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice for ages 3 and under, and a pea sized amount of toothpaste for children over 3.
5. When to Schedule Your Baby's First Dental Visit
Yet another milestone in your baby’s first year, the first dental visit should take place after their first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. Since the primary teeth can get cavities right away, minding your child’s health as soon as teeth appear is the best preventive medicine.
6. When to Start Cleaning Between Teeth
Since brushing does not clean every surface of the tooth, clean between the teeth either before or after brushing. There are easy to sue child friendly tools that you can use until you child learns to do it themselves.
7. You Can Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Primary teeth are especially important in the growth and development of a healthy set of adult teeth.
They may only last up to 12 or 13 years, but they are important place holders for the adult teeth, and they help in eating, and in proper speech and airway development. Even though they only last a little more than a decade, they are still susceptible to cavities. Cavities in in infants and toddlers are often called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Early Childhood Caries.
The most common location of baby bottle tooth decay is the upper front teeth (but other teeth may also be affected). Drinks that contain sugar are the culprit, especially when putting the baby to bed with a bottle of sugary drink or milk, or when a fussy baby uses a bottle for a pacifier.
8. Keep Their Mouths Clean
It is common practice to clean a pacifier that falls on the floor in your own mouth. Also common is to offer a bite of food from your fork or use their spoon to test whether their food is the right temperature. Germs that cause cavities are transmitted in your saliva to the baby’s mouth, so instead of protecting your baby, you are actually passing those germs to them. It is best to keep your eating utensils separate and maintain a healthy mouth.
9. Water Works!
When your child is thirsty, water beats every other beverage, especially if it has fluoride in it. Water has no calories which cause weight gain, and fluoridated water can reduce cavities by 25% or more. Sweetened juices, sports drinks and even natural fruit juices are all contributors to cavities. So protect your child’s teeth and health by sticking to water to quench thirst.
10. There's One More Way to Keep Cavities at Bay
Sealants have been around for an exceptionally long time, and time has shown that they can prevent cavities in the chewing surfaces of molars by up to 80%. Brushing, flossing, and fluorides are essential, but the grooves in back teeth are so small that toothbrush bristles cannot clean them thoroughly. That is where sealants pay a vital role. They fill in the small crevices so bacteria cannot live inside. This prevents acid formation and cavity formation quite effectively. Studies how that young children without sealants have three times the number of cavities as children who have had sealants.
Who Can Get Sealants?
Both children and adults can benefit, however the earlier they are applied the better the benefit. Ideally, they should be applied to the first molars when they erupt at 6 years of age and the second molars when they erupt at 12. Early application saves money down the road. Ask your dentist for advice on sealants.
How Are Sealants Applied?
The same materials that are used in cavity filling are used in sealants. The tooth grooves are thoroughly cleaned with an air polisher, and the tooth surface is micro etched with a special liquid that prepares the tooth for the sealant application. This ensures that a strong bond forms to the sealant and your tooth. The sealant is then painted on and a special light is used to set it to a hard consistency. Your bite is then evaluated to see if excess sealant should be removed to ensure a good bite against the sealant.