LITTLE MOUTH - BIG CONCERN
Common myths about children's teeth:
Not important: Care is not needed for milk tooth as it will fall out by the age of 5 years.
Can't get cavities: Cavity in milk tooth doesn't require any treatment .
No check ups required: Children must visit a dentist only when the permanent teeth face any problems.
The branch of dentistry dealing with children from birth to adolescence.
Promote the awareness for dental health of children.
To serve as educational resources for parents. It will be able to guide and counsel the parents in regards to various treatment modalities.
To establish a relationship between the dentist and the patient. Referring this as the patients "DENTAL HOME".
Early oral examination in detection of early stages of tooth decay.
Able to instill positive attitude and behaviour in children towards oral health.
There are two sets of dentition :
Milk Teeth- These are 20 in numbers. The first set which pops out in the oral cavity and according to its life span sheds out. It gets started erupting from the age of 6 months till 2 years.
Permanent Teeth- These are 32 in numbers. The next set which starts getting erupted as soon as milk tooth sheds out and thus stays permanently. Eruption starts from the age of 6 years till 22 or more (due to eruption of third molar or wisdom tooth).
Why baby teeth are important :
Holding spaces for permanent teeth
Jaw and muscle development
Although milk teeth are temporary but they deserve to be under good care in order to keep it free from cavity and oral pain which is the foremost task. Healthy and stronger teeth are needed not only just to chew food but also to pronounce words properly because negligence can lead to start of dental problems.
Once milk teeth get affected by caries, it leads to inflammation which in turn affects the root of the teeth. Thus causing pain and additional damage to the buds of the permanent tooth leading to extraction. This is the common cause of premature loss of milk teeth, which ultimately leads to misaligned teeth.
The main cause of children's dental problem is the exposure of the little mouth to sugary liquids for longer period leading to decay which is also called as EARLY CHILDHOOD CARIES.
MILK TEETH NEEDS REPAIRING IF DECAYED.
"One baby tooth +one dental visit = zero cavities"
The time the first tooth erupts or by the child's first birthday, one dental visit is necessary. The first visit is mostly educational .
Parental tips :
Dental education is very important for the parents for their children's healthy teeth.
The topmost concern is that the child should be healthy and free from even a minor problem. However they don't realise that the primary tooth or the milk tooth is susceptible to decay as soon as it erupts, called as early childhood caries due to the nursing bottle. Few tips worth to follow:
Never allow infants to sleep with a bottle containing milk or any sweetened liquid.
Not dipping the pacifiers in sugar or honey.
Wiping of the child's gums with a wet cloth after every feeding .
Wean the infant from the bottle by the age of 1.
Sucking of thumb, finger or pacifier is normal. But the habit must be discouraged by the age of 3, because prolonged sucking may create orthodontic problems affecting the development of permanent dentition.
FLUORIDES are the pillars for the developing strong teeth, during the initial visit to a dentist the fluoride needs are determined. Fluoride supplements are needed if the requirement is not met.
Begin brushing with little water as soon teeth erupts. For children above 2 years use of peanut sized fluoride toothpaste is recommended.
Tooth brushing for children of different age group :
Children > 2yrs : Brushing teeth with small smear of fluoridated toothpaste is needed.
Children 1-2yrs : Brushing once daily with fluoridated toothpaste is recommended.
Children < 1 yr : Use of soft cloth to gently wipe infants gums is advisable.
Sugary treats should not be a daily part of child's treat. Encourage consumption of fresh fruits and veggies because their texture cleans teeth as the child chews.
The earlier the dental visit, the better the results. It is important to establish a "dental home" to ensure the child's oral health care .
Encountered a case where a patient aged 9 years with severe swelling on right side lower jaw. Due to his negligence a small cavity got evolved into a periapical infection and pus accumulation which led to the swelling. This swelling subsequently led to involvement of two more milk teeth and eventually removal of them.
Patients with pus accumulation and decayed tooth is very common now a days. It is due to the ignorance of dental health by the children as well as the parents or the caregivers. The reason for cavity involves food accumulation and the tendency of children to remove this food accumulation with sharp objects like pencil, pin or thin sticks which forms a house for infection.
As per my experience over 85 % of the children are under the web of dental problems, common being the dental cavity. Remember :
"One baby tooth +one dental visit = zero cavities"