Proper home care will help you take care of your teeth!
A child’s primary teeth, sometimes called “baby teeth,” are as important as the permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age six months and one year. Good home care will produce healthy teeth which help children chew and speak while maintaining a child’s self esteem. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are developing under the gums.
The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday. Prior to the appearance of an infant’s first tooth, the baby’s mouth and gums should be wiped with a clean, damp cloth following feedings. The caretakers should maintain their own oral health by visiting their dentist and completing any dental treatment that is needed to avoid transferring any cavity causing bacteria to the infant.
A child under the age of 2 should become familiar with a soft bristled toothbrush when the first tooth erupts around 68 months of age. The toothbrush should be clean and soaked with warm water and gently brushed over the child’s teeth and gums by the parent. The optimum schedule is brushing after breakfast and before the child goes to bed at night. A child over 3 should continue brushing as stated, however, should be introduced to fluoridated toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association. The best toothbrushes have soft, rounded bristles with a pea sized amount of toothpaste. This toothpaste should cover all surfaces of the mouth and all surfaces should be gently brushed with a toothbrush. The child should spit out all the toothpaste without swallowing it. a child should be supervised while brushing until 10 years of age and encouraged to floss once a day.
Adolescents: Patient’s dental needs change as they mature. the occurrence of cavities increases during these teen years due to change in diet, lack of motivation, orthodontic devices and a more demanding lifestyle.These changes are addressed with each individual patient and varying needs are met. it is important for us to maintain our patient/doctor relationship during these years while giving our patients more responsibility and a feeling of ownership of their health. Tobacco and oral piercing, sports guards..home care along with regular dental visits, fluoride treatments, and a healthy balanced diet are crucial for healthy teeth and gums.
Diet and Oral Health
Your body is a complex machine. The foods you choose and how often you eat them can affect your general health and the health of your teeth and gums, too. If you consume too many sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks or non-nutritious snacks, you could be at risk for tooth decay. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, but the good news is that it is entirely preventable. Tooth decay happens when plaque comes into contact with sugar in the mouth, causing acid to attack the teeth. Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay.
To control the amount of sugar you eat, read the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on foods and beverages and choose options that are lowest in sugar. Common sources of sugar in the diet include soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries. Your physician or a registered dietitian can also provide suggestions for eating a nutritious diet. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection. This may contribute to gum disease. Severe gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is potentially more severe in people with poor nutrition. To learn what foods are best for you, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture. The site contains dietary recommendations for children and adults based on their levels of physical activity.
For healthy living and for healthy teeth and gums, think before you eat and drink. It’s not only what you eat but when you eat that can affect your dental health. Eat a balanced diet and limit between meal snacks. If you are on a special diet, keep your physician’s advice in mind when
choosing foods. For good dental health, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including:
- whole grains
- lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes
- lowfat and fat-free dairy foods
Limit the number of snacks you eat. If you do snack, choose something that is healthy like fruit or vegetables or a piece of cheese. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities.
For good dental health, always remember to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly. With regular dental care, your dentist can help prevent oral problems from occurring in the first place and catch those that do occur in the early stages, while they are easy to treat.
Tips for helping your child to stop thumbsucking:
It is important to remember digit sucking is perfectly normal and should not be a cause for worry. Infants often use sucking as a way to sooth their sore gums during teething and is often a baby’s first way to selfcalm. This habit persists during times of stress and becomes a tool for the toddler to feel secure and relaxed. Most children stop these habits on their own within the 2nd to 4th year which usually does not affect their permanent teeth which arrive around 6 years of age. If the sucking habit continues, it may interfere with the growth and development of the child’s teeth and jaw. Not all thumbsucking is equally damaging. The intensity of the sucking and the tongue’s thrust is what causes dental problems. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouth are less likely to have dental problems than children who suck aggressively. Observe your child’s technique. If he sucks vigorously, we may want to discuss these ways to break the habit at an earlier age.
- The child should have a regular exam schedule with the doctor to determine any problems that may arise.
- Praise your child for not sucking.
- Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure or needing comfort. Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and provide comfort to your child.
- The key is to notice when and where sucking occurs and try to divert his attention by offering an alternative.
- As soon as you see the thumb going toward the mouth, quickly distract your child into a hands on activity or insert a toy into both hands.
- For an older child, involve him or her in choosing the method of stopping.
- We can offer encouragement to your child and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.
If the above tips don’t work, remind your child of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night. As a last resort, we may prescribe a bitter medication to coat the thumb or the use of a mouth appliance. Pacifiers can affect the teeth in essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs, however, it is often an easier habit to break. Breaking these habits take time and patience, working together with other members of the family as well as following these tips consistently will improve their effectiveness.