How to ensure your child has good teeth

A healthy child is a happy child

Once your child’s teeth has started erupting, the parent should have the awareness to maintain the child’s good teeth until he or she is able to take care himself or herself. The first tooth to erupt is around 6 months and the full complement of teeth is completed within 2 years. The first permanent molar erupts around 6 years of age and the adult teeth should be complete by 14 years (excluding wisdom teeth)

Tips for good teeth in a child- Here, we refer to children up to 12 years old

1 Avoid junk foods and high sugar food which may promote decay.

2 Reduce frequency of snacks in between meals

3 Introduce to the dentist and familiarise child with the dental clinic so as build confidence when the time comes for dental treatment

4 Do not coat pacifier or the milk bottle tip with honey or anything sweet

5 Do not give tetracycline antibiotics to children as they can cause bad staining of the unerupted permanent teeth. Pregnant mothers should not consume tetracycline.

6 For babies, the parent may clean the teeth with a clean cloth. Once the child can hold the toothbrush properly, introduce simple brushing technique.

7 Try to save the teeth as they are natural space maintainers. If extracted, something can be done to prevent drifting of teeth leading to loss of space and likely crowding of permanent teeth.

8 If the child has clenching or grinding habits, visit the dentist for further advice.

9 If the child has crowding or biting problems, interceptive treatment may be needed before braces which is usually started in the teens.

10 Emphasize the importance of oral care by sharing knowledge about teeth and gum care. Colorful books are available which tell a story.

Every effort should be made to preserve all your child’s teeth until they are lost naturally. In an incident where the child’s tooth is injured, fractured, loosened or even displaced out of the mouth, consult your dentist immediately. When a permanent tooth is displaced, do pick up the tooth , rinse gently, put in saline water in a bottle and bring to the dental office with the child.

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