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PEDIATRIC DENTAL INFO
What is a Pediatric Dentist?
A pediatric dentist is a doctor of dental health that has had an extra few years of specialized training dedicated to the study of the oral health of children. This advanced education focuses on the development of children’s mouths and their teeth from the time of birth to their later teen years. There are different needs for the stages of human growth, and infants, pre-teenagers, teenagers, and adults all have different needs when it comes to dental hygiene and oral health. A pediatric dentist will help in guiding a child’s oral development and assist them in avoiding future dental problems.
The Primary Teeth
The Primary Teeth, also known as “baby teeth” serve a very important role in child development and oral health. Neglected problems, such as cavities, in these teeth quite often lead to issues shaping the development of their permanent teeth. The Primary Teeth are essential in the development of proper chewing and eating, normal development of the jaw bones and muscles, and providing space and guiding the permanent teeth into the correct positions. Also, the Primary Teeth influence the progress of speech development. In most children, the front 4 teeth should be replaced by their permanent counterparts around the ages of 6-7 and the cuspids and molars should last into the pre-teen and early teen years, usually 10-13 years old.
When should I expect my child’s first primary tooth?
The teething process, or cutting of the primary teeth through the gums, varies amongst children but usually begins in 6-8 months. The time it takes for the teeth to come in and the time between teeth coming in also vary between children. Generally, the first teeth to appear are the lower front teeth.
Children’s Tooth Care
As soon as the first tooth appears, you should begin daily tooth care for your child. Once the child is old enough not to swallow, begin brushing with a pea size amount of fluoride tooth paste every day. By the time a child is 4-5 years old, they should be able to brush their own teeth at least twice a day with your supervision. Every child is different, and you along with your dentist can assist the child in good oral hygiene to maintain the health of your child’s teeth. Remember when brushing to finish off by brushing the tongue to help freshen their breath and to remove bacteria from their mouth. Also, flossing removes the plaque between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach, and starting all this at an early age will promote good habits as they get older.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
One serious problem with infants and young children is what is often called “baby bottle tooth decay.” Most often, this is caused from regular and lengthy exposure of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Quite a few liquids have sugars in them, including milk (human and bovine), baby formulas, and fruit juices. Of course, you should not give children any sweetened liquids, such as sodas and artificially sweetened and flavored juices, in a bottle.
You should not put a baby to bed even for a short nap with a bottle containing anything other than water, as this can quickly cause extensive damage to a child’s developing teeth. The sweet liquid pools in the baby’s mouth and developing teeth. These pools of sugars provide a place for plaques and bacteria to produce acid that attack tooth enamel. If your child is having a difficult time or will not fall asleep without the comfort of a bottle and their usual beverage, add water little by little to the beverage in the bottle each day. Over a two or three week period, they should be on just water.
After feeding a child with a bottle, delicately wipe the teeth and gums with a damp washcloth to remove plaque. This is essential for good oral health in developing mouths.
Healthy Eating Leads to Healthy Teeth
As with the development of the rest of the body, the soft tissue, the gums, the bones, and the teeth all need a healthy, well balanced diet. Eating from all five of the major food groups is essential to the proper development of a child’s whole body, including the teeth. Cavities and tooth decay chances increase the more often a child eats and snacks throughout the day as well as the length of time food remains in the mouth. Caramels, hard candies, breath mints, and such stay in the mouth longer periods of time and cause the acid from these to attack the tooth enamel for longer periods of time. If your child needs a snack, choose a healthier, more nutritious food for their complete body development.
If you have questions or want more information about any of the questions above or other topics, such as thumb sucking, fluoride, first dental visit, dental x-rays, cavity prevention, toothpaste, teeth grinding, and much more, please contact us today; we will be happy to answer all your questions.
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