Childrens Dental Hygiene
As children grow up, they learn proper dental hygiene from their parents. In the early years it is up to the parents to make sure that the child follows a proper regimen.
This is increasingly important for children who cannot care for their own mouths, infants. An infant’s dental care should begin long before any teeth can be seen.
Newborns begin growing their teeth during the second trimester and are born with 20 primary teeth. While an infant’s mouth remains toothless, parent can run a wash cloth over the gums after feeding to avoid the buildup of potentially damaging bacteria. Once the child’s first teeth do start to come in, a toothbrush specially design for children’s teeth can be used. Parents can floss for the child once they have grown two teeth.
A common practice among parents is putting the baby to sleep with a bottle in his or her mouth. However, doing so can lead to a condition called bottle mouth, a condition harmful to the baby’s teeth. The sugars from the bottle’s contents can remain on the teeth for hours, eating at the enamel. Signs of bottle mouth include discolored, pocked, or pitted front teeth. The condition can become quite severe, leading to the pulling of the front teeth until the permanent teeth grow in.
When time comes to take the child to the dentist, around the first birthday, the child should see a dentist specializing in children’s teeth. Pediatric dentist are specifically trained to address children’s dental health conditions. During those first dental health years, the main goal of the dentist and the parent should be prevention and creating a maintenance routine that teaches the child proper dental hygiene habits.
By the time those terrible twos roll around, children should have grown all their teeth. At this time the dentist may begin to start the application of topical fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent dental cavities by hardening over the tooth enamel. When food and bacteria remain on the teeth, acid accrues softening the enamel until a hole is formed. Fluoride makes enamel harder to penetrate by strengthening it. When the permanent teeth start to grow in, the dentist will then coat the back teeth with a resin called sealant. Sealant is a protective coating that keeps bacteria from accumulating in the cracks between the back teeth, thus preventing decay. Children as young as 2 or 3, under careful supervision, can begin to use a pea sized amount of toothpaste when they brush. However, parents need to ensure that the child always spits the toothpaste out.
With all these preventative measures in place parents may be tempted to let their child can eat all the sweets they want or skip out on regular daily brushing and flossing. Good oral hygiene habits must continue at home to promote the health of the child’s mouth, also to coach them for the right use of dental care, to prevent later for example the need of teeth bleaching or something similar.