Awaken the Small Smiles
By Dr. Sharma Shalender
Since your little one grows so fast, teeth will be growing in his or her mouth sooner than you think. It is therefore important to be prepared for them and learn why they are important. Additionally, it is important to inculcate strong dentalcare to set good dental habits even as your child grows. Remember, poor oral care can lead to infection, disease and other teeth problems.
Babies’ first teeth break through the gums when they are at around six months old. The first ones are usually the front bottom teeth. The last ones to come out are usually at the back of the jaw when the child is around three years. At this age, the child is likely to be having 10 upper and another 10 lower teeth.
How, then, are they important yet they are bound to fall off one day? Well, they are needed by the baby for eating, speaking and smiling. They also assist in preserving the spaces in the jaws even as the mouth is prepared for adult teeth. The child will lose the teeth when they are around six years old when the adult teeth start coming into their mouths. However, it is important to note that if your child loses their baby teeth too early, then you should consider paying your dentist a visit about the options to keep the correct space in the mouth for the adult teeth to emerge normally.
There are a variety of ways of helping care for these small smiles. First, brush them twice a day with toothpaste to prevent cavities. In the case of newborns, wipe the gums with a wet soft cloth or pad to keep the mouth clean. For the children younger than 3 years, it is recommended that you use an amount of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. For those who are 3 and older, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and assist them to brush for 2 minutes until you are sure that they have brushed both sides of their teeth well.
It is also important to clean between their teeth to get rid of food particles and under the gums. Just like in brushing, it is important to assist them clean between their teeth till they are able to do it well on their own. While doing this, it is also vital to check your child’s diet because what they eat and drink can hurt their teeth. Some drinks, like fruit juice can be very high in sugar or acid, which is dangerous to the baby’s teeth. It is therefore important to limit sugary treats like cookies to prevent the enamel from becoming weak and put the teeth at a higher risk for cavities.
One of the parent’s major roles in lighting up the small smiles is to make regular visits to your child’s dentist. As soon as you see your baby’s first tooth, and probably no later than their first birthday, visit the dentist for a check-up. Through these visits, your dentist can tell if your child has plaque or cavities, and when you should expect more teeth to break through the gums. Your child’s dentist will also advise on how best to take care of your child’s teeth.