Dental care in toddlers

Dental care in toddlers

Great health and a positive attitude are the best gifts you could give your child. As a parent, you would definitely provide a nutritious, well balanced diet to your child, but have you ever wondered if he nutrition from the food is completely absorbed by his or her body? Probably not.

Importance of milk teeth
The process of digestion begins right in the mouth. Teeth and saliva play a very important role in this process. But if your teeth are not healthy or are lost, proper chewing does not take place. Result: indigestion, nutrient deficiency and stunted growth. Now, does it make sense that even milk teeth, which will fall down eventually, have to be taken care of?

Besides, milk teeth guide permanent teeth to their proper position in the arch. Space created by the early loss of milk teeth gets reduced by the movement of adjacent as well as opposing teeth. Result, lack of sufficient space for eruption of bigger permanent teeth and they are forced to erupt in a wrong position in the dental arch leading to teeth crowding.

Further, milk teeth induce and influence the growth of jaws. Without this influence, jaws show diminished growth which could again lead to dental crowding. Not just that, lack of proper growth in the upper jaws can affect the growth of nasal structure. Improper development of upper jaw can lead to nasal congestion, difficulty in breathing. This deficient facial growth also affects the appearance of your child’s face and can lead to long term psychological as well as physiological problems for your kid.

Tips for dental and general health

Oral hygiene: Maintain dental hygiene for your child right from the day the first tooth is seen in the mouth. Clean with fingers and extra soft tooth brushes. Cultivate good dental habits like brushing teeth twice a day. Mouthwash or fluoride toothpastes are not suggested for children below 6 years as they might swallow the chemical.

Diet: Junk foods are the enemies of healthy teeth. Chewing raw vegetables and intake of fruits help them in stimulating the growth of jaw bones, teeth and gums.

Milk teeth exfoliation: Check the exfoliation pattern of milk teeth. Watch out for permanent teeth erupting behind the existing milk teeth or out of the arch. Consult your dentist at the earliest if the milk tooth is present even after the eruption of permanent tooth.

Tooth eruption pattern: Any delay in teeth eruption should be watched. An X-Ray might help you find out the reason and plan the treatment.

Cavities: Any cavities found in your younger one’s teeth should be addressed at the earliest as cavity spread is comparatively faster in children. Dental fillings at the early stages of the tooth cavity can save your child from pain and ill health. Topical fluoride application again can prevent the onset of tooth decay

Oral habits: Many infants suck their thumb or other fingers which is absolutely normal. But if this habit persists after the age of six then it can result in forward projected teeth. Biting nails, lips, continued thrusting of teeth with tongue, breathing from mouth instead of nose, grinding teeth at night are all various other habits that can be harmful to the growth of face and body.

 Injuries: Further, children while playing or during contact sports can injure their front teeth. Mouth guards can save these vulnerable teeth from fracture or avulsion (whole tooth coming out of its socket). In case of tooth avulsion, it should be carefully cleaned, stored in saliva in the mouth or in milk container and dentist should be approached immediately. If properly addressed within 30-60 minutes that tooth can be treated, saved and fixed back into its position in mouth.
(The author is founder, India Dental World, Bengaluru)

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