TEETHING: WHAT EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ORAL HEALTH
Do you remember when caring for your teeth was not second nature? Most of us adults do not remember that someone had to teach us how to take care of our teeth.
As a parent – and especially as a new parent – you will surely want to take care of your child’s teeth as if they were yours. It is vital to ensure that your child has good oral health habits that will allow them to have healthy teeth and to do so, you need to understand the basics.
During early childhood, the health of teeth is very important. Good oral health habits can prevent cavities and their complications, and give your child a smile that he will be proud to grow up with.
However, given all the challenges that new parents face, taking care of their child’s oral health can be a stressful and unplanned task.
Whether you are looking for general information about your child’s oral health or advice on a specific topic, it’s normal to have a long list of questions.
The following are answers to frequently asked questions about this, as well as important information that will surely lend you a hand:
HOW MANY TEETH DO CHILDREN HAVE?
Whether parent or child, the same rule applies: good oral hygiene starts at home. First, you need to determine how many teeth your child has to help him or she take care of them.
“In general, by the age of 3, your child should have 20 baby teeth,” says Mandy Hayre, President of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA).
WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD HAVE HIS FIRST DENTAL EXAM, AND WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends that you consult a dental professional within 6 months after the first tooth eruption or before the first year of age – whichever occurs first.
The first dental examination is an excellent opportunity for parents to learn about good oral health practices and to have their child’s oral health and development assessed by a professional. During this visit, you will probably discuss oral care at home and possibly fluoride use.
WHEN SHOULD I START USING A FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE?
According to the Canadian Dental Association, the use of fluoride is the most important measure for maintaining oral health in adults and children.
If your child is under 3 years of age, you should only use fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) if your dental professional has determined that the child is at high risk of tooth decay.
If the child is not considered at risk, brushing the teeth should be done by an adult, using a toothbrush moistened with water only.
The use of a fluoride toothpaste should not begin until the age of 3, and a small amount (the size of a pea) should be used.
WHEN DO CHILDREN LOSE THEIR TEETH?
“It’s the upper and lower anterior teeth that fall first, usually around the age of five or six, with the last milk tooth falling around the age of twelve,” says Hayre.
“Even if your child will eventually lose his or her baby teeth, it is important to adopt good oral hygiene. If your child loses his or her baby’s teeth earlier due to cavities or infection, this could affect their growth and development – including language development and nutrition, “says Hayre.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CARIES IN CHILDREN?
In adults and children, the main cause of caries is a plaque, a substance composed of a mixture of bacteria, food, acid and saliva that adheres to teeth. Over time, acids produced by bacteria eat tooth enamel and cause cavities.
The main signs of caries in a child are white spots on the teeth, and as caries progresses, the tooth can turn pale brown. The color may then become darker and a hole may form. Symptoms such as sensitivity to sweets and cold drinks may also occur 5.
Not detected and untreated, caries in children or toddlers can cause severe pain, infection or tooth loss. As a prevention, you should regularly inspect your child’s teeth and pay attention to any changes in the teeth and gums.
“Do not ignore white spots or other discoloration on your child’s teeth, as this may be one of the first signs of decay. If you notice these changes by examining your child’s teeth, you should visit a dental professional as soon as possible, “says Hayre.
HOW TO PREVENT CAVITIES IN CHILDREN:
Cavities can cause dental discomfort, infection, and sensitivity, and lead to permanent problems later. The good news is that cavities can be prevented in children and, with adequate measures, prevented.
According to CDHA, parents can take various measures to prevent tooth decay in their young children. These include: cleaning the inside of the child’s mouth after meals with gauze or a soft cloth; avoid putting the child to bed with a bottle in the mouth – especially if it contains milk, formula or juice. These liquids contain sugar, which can increase the risk of cavities.
To help prevent cavities in your child, you should also follow the following three steps on a daily basis:
1 st step: Toothbrush:
For brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush adequate size for the age of your child. Be sure to hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the edge of the gum and, if necessary, guide your child’s hand and help him move from one tooth to the other by performing circular movements.
2 th stage: Flossing:
You should floss as soon as your child’s teeth touch. You will need to guide your child in handling the silk.
3 th step: Mouthwash:
For children 6 and up, try a fluoride-based mouthwash for extra protection against cavities, such as children’s mouthwash Listerine ® SMART RINSE ®. The child should rinse vigorously with 10 ml (2 teaspoons) of solution for 1 minute, then spit.