Children’s tooth care

mother brushing teeth on child

Children’s tooth care is vital

Is children’s tooth care really so important? Tooth care is not always easy for parents to find room for in a busy schedule – especially if the child does not agree with the parents’ policies on brushing and sugar habits. Besides, since the baby teeth will soon fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth anyway, some parents reason that it is not so important to care for the baby teeth. This is not true, however. There are several reasons, why parents should care well for the baby teeth through healthy diet and daily brushing.

Children’s tooth care – why so important?

Inside the gum right under the baby teeth, the permanent teeth are being formed. Any damage to a baby tooth, therefore, can affect the permanent teeth. For example, if a baby tooth is infected because of a deep cavity, the infection can spread to the permanent tooth and weaken it’s surface. When the permanent tooth erupts, this can be seen as a white, yellow or brown spot on the surface which will not go away. In this early age, children’s tooth care is mainly about building good dental hygiene habits, which are essential to avoiding deep cavities in the baby teeth. But there are also other reasons why children’s tooth care is so important.

Children’s tooth care affects the growth of the jaw

The baby teeth are important for the growth of the jaw and for keeping the space open for when the permanent teeth arrive. If a baby tooth is lost or pulled out before it’s natural time, it might cause difficulties when the permanent teeth erupt. Either they cannot erupt normally or they will be crooked or lacking space and in need of braces. Crooked teeth make the tooth care even more difficult, since they are not so easy to brush clean.

Cavities and infections are painful. If the child needs large treatments at the dentist at a very young age, there is a risk that the child will be traumatized and become afraid of dentists. This is a very sad situation for the child and parents alike. But how is children’s tooth care best carried out?

Children’s tooth care – how to do it

As soon as the first tooth comes out, parents should start brushing. For a teething toddler it is soothing for the gums to have them brushed with a soft toothbrush. At the same time it is a good way for the child to get used to having the teeth brushed. It is not necessary to use toothpaste untill the larger back teeth erupt. Your child might not be very willing to have his or her teeth brushed, but it is very essential at a very early age to implement good routines for tooth care and brushing.

Using toothpaste with children

As soon as the larger baby teeth erupt in the back of the mouth, it is a good idea to start using toothpaste in the daily tooth care routines. In order to be effective, toothpaste must contain fluoride. But be careful with the dosage. Too much toothpaste can cause damage to the permanent teeth that are in the making. In rare cases the child could even get overdosed to the point of being in danger of poisoning. If you stick to the “pinkie rule”, though, you will be safe. Use only an amount of toothpaste that corresponds to the size of the nail on your child’s little finger. In this way, even if your child swallows all the toothpaste, there is no danger of overdosage.

Sugar and baby bottles. A bad cocktail!

Children’s tooth care involves more than brushing regularly. Controlling the teeth’s exposure to sugar is also important. Most children seem very happy when served a bottle with a sugary drink. But for the teeth, soft drinks and even fruit juices in the baby bottle is extremely damaging. When performing tooth care at the clinic we sometimes see even very small children with black decay on all their front teeth. This sad sight is caused by sweet drinks in the baby bottle. Why is this so? Because babies empty their bottle gradually over a long time, the teeth will practically be soaking in the sugar for hours – or all night if the baby sleeps with the bottle. The result is a very fast decay. If your baby needs a bottle as a comforter, make sure it is a bottle of pure water. If you want to add some taste you can make a thin tea without adding sugar. Some teas are naturally sweet, e.g. chrysanthemum or camomile.

Healthy teeth – the result of good tooth care

Good dental health is a gift, which is not to be taken for granted. Our parents’ efforts in caring for our teeth when we were young still affect our lives every day, when we eat, speak and smile. This might be a sobering thought in your daily fight to protect your child’s teeth through brushing and a healthy diet. Don’t give up. One day your child will thank you for it!

You can read more about children’s tooth care by following the links below:

Help! My child is teething!

Brushing your child’s teeth – how to win the fight

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