Updated: Dec 18, 2018
LOOKING AFTER YOUR CHILDREN'S BABY TEETH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS CARING FOR THEIR ADULT TEETH. BUT DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHY?
Baby teeth allow the child to maintain good nutrition and digestion by being able to chew properly.
Baby teeth are important in speech development - if a child has missing teeth, especially the ones at the front of the mouth, he or she may develop problems as they get older.
Baby teeth are needed for the permanent tooth to form
Baby teeth help the permanent teeth by saving space for them and guiding them into their correct position.
This creates a healthy smile that can help children feel good about the way they look to others
Decay can develop as soon as the primary teeth erupt and may be visible by the dentist from as young as 10 months of age.
SO WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR?
Usually, the first stage of tooth decay looks like white spots or lines on the front teeth
These white areas can rapidly break down into yellow-brown spots and spread to the back teeth
All white lines are not tooth decay, but it is a good idea to ask your dentist to take a look at your child if you notice marks on their teeth.
Not treating decay in early childhood can lead to tooth loss which can not only affect their speech and reduce the space available for the adult teeth, but can also:
Cause your child loss of sleep which will lead to them not being able to focus or concentrate at school.
Give them a higher chance of developing tooth decay in adult teeth.
Make them self-conscious about their smile and appearance, and affect their long-term self-esteem and and confidence.
BUT HOW DO I DO MY BEST TO HELP THEM LOOK AFTER THEIR TEETH?
For toddlers and small children to the age of 6, there are special low-flouride toothpastes available with about half the amount of flouride of adult toothpastes. Only a smear of tooth paste should be used and ensure your child spits and does not swallow the toothpaste.
From about the age of 4, children should begin to learn how to brush their own teeth. You can and should help them until they are old enough to competently do it on their own (usually by the age of 9-10). You can help them by:
Guiding your child's hand so they can feel the correct movement.
Using a mirror to help your child see exactly where the brush is cleaning their teeth.
Making tooth brushing as fun as possible. Try using an egg timer to time it for at least two minutes.
Not letting children run around with a toothbrush in their mouth as they may damage their mouths or choke if they call over.
Finally, remember that children learn from their parents. Setting a good example as a parent or guardian and looking after your own teeth will ensure your child wants to follow in your footsteps!
You can learn more about your child's oral health and your own at our stand in central Petersfield this Saturday, 7th June 2014, in aid of National Smile Month.
For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180