Parenting is exciting and comes with its fair share of challenges. Additionally, parenting does not come with a manual to help navigate the milestone in your child’s growth.
Babies’ teeth erupt anytime from 6 months. And as the teeth erupt one by one, many parents do not know what to do. When should my two-year-old start flossing? Does my dental insurance cover my child? Is it too early to take my three-year-old to a dental clinic? Are there drugs that can affect my toddler’s teeth?
This read will answer these pertinent questions and help your child have strong teeth from childhood through adulthood.
When should toddlers start brushing their teeth?
Good oral health starts before the first tooth erupts. Your baby’s teeth start formation from the mother’s womb. In the second trimester of pregnancy, the fetus begins forming and continues until maturity. Though you cannot see your baby has 20 primary teeth at birth. Some of these teeth are fully developed, while others continue growing slowly.
How to care for the invisible teeth
- Mothers should make it a habit to clean the baby’s mouth after every suckling. You can run a clean, wet, and soft washcloth over the baby’s gum. The practice clears any bacteria lying on the gum.
- When the baby’s teeth show, clean their tiny, delicate teeth with an infant’s toothbrush. Use clean, warm water and pea-size fluoride toothpaste to clean the teeth. You can get an infant’s fluoride toothpaste from your dentist or over-the-counter chemist. Confirm that the toothpaste has the recognized mark of quality from the dental association in your region.
- You can teach your child flossing when you notice the teeth upper and lower teeth touch. Kids are easy to train because they copy from the adults around them. Therefore, floss as they watch and ask them to do it. The child will learn how to floss in no time.
- Your child should continue brushing until it becomes a habit. However, supervise and help them brush their teeth so you can be sure they’re learning the right way. All children from 3 years up should use pea-size toothpaste.
- Discourage the children from swallowing the toothpaste. You’ll also be safer using toddlers’ toothpaste instead of the regular one for family members.
Can babies get tooth decay?
Like adults and teenagers, babies too can get tooth decay. Parents and caregivers should not allow babies to sleep with a milk bottle locked in their mouth. Milk formula contains sugars that damage the baby’s teeth. The sugar encourages bacteria growth, which eats away the enamel on their delicate teeth.
When the enamel on the baby’s teeth gets bacterial coating, the teeth can appear discolored, or pocked. And gradually, cavities form, leading to decayed teeth.
Allow your growing baby to switch from milk bottle to cup. A cup prevents milk from spilling on the child’s teeth.
When is your child’s first dental clinic?
Many first-time parents are often anxious. Your child’s first dental clinic can be on their first birthday. At this first pediatric oral hygiene clinic, the doctor will sit the baby on your lap and explain how to brush and floss.
Additionally, the dental clinic helps detect any abnormalities and issues in the child’s teeth. The visit reassures the parent that all is well with the baby and arrests any concern as they get older.
Pediatric dentists are ideal for children because they’re familiar with kids’ dental issues. A pediatric dentist also knows when to refer you to an orthodontist to correct problems such as misalignment and an open bite.
Cavity in children
A pediatric dentist examines the baby’s teeth for other dental problems. If they realize the child is at risk, he may apply topical fluoride as a preventive measure. Topical fluoride hardens the enamel and helps to ward off dental cavities and other childhood dental diseases.
How Caregivers can help prevent childhood cavities
As mentioned earlier, cavities develop when food particles are left on the teeth. Bacteria act on the food particles to form an acid that coats the teeth. The acid softens the child’s delicate enamel to create holes in the teeth. The tiny holes in a child’s teeth are called a cavity.
- Train good oral habits early. Children imitate their caregivers and other family members. Therefore, teach them to brush their teeth twice a day and insist on using fluoride toothpaste.
- Add to your fluoride- Fluoride is an essential element in your child’s toothpaste. It hardens the enamel, making it hard for acid to corrode. Find out if your tap water is fluoridated. If it is not, or if you use purified water, request your dentist to give you fluoride supplements.
Most household toothpaste contains fluoride but taking it in water ensures you get the recommended amount. However, be keen not to take excess fluoride amounts because they can cause fluorosis or color discoloration.
- Limit sugary food items– sugary food and snacks encourage the multiplication of bacteria in the mouth. Artificial juices, candies, ice-creams, and confectioneries contain sugars. If the child does not brush or floss immediately after eating snacks, bacterial forms on the teeth and starts forming cavities. The same care should be followed any time children take liquid medicines.
- Visit the pediatric dentist- the doctor can apply a dental sealant on the child’s back teeth to prevent decay. The adhesive is a thin wash of resin and discourages bacteria from sticking to the teeth crevices.
Are dental problems genetic?
The milk teeth fall out as the child grows, allowing the permanent set to develop. You should maintain a regular oral hygiene routine to keep away dental problems.
However, if the parents are prone to dental issues, your child is likely to have them. It is critical to inform the dentist about your dental problems to take preventive measures. Regularly examine your child’s teeth and visit the dentist at first sight of a challenge.
Baby’s teeth start growing from the womb. Therefore, mothers should eat a balanced diet to promote strong teeth. As the child grows, caregivers should ensure the child learns good oral habits and often visit the dentist.