Dental Care for Your Child

Q. When does the first baby tooth appear?

A: child’s first tooth generally breaks through the gum at about 6 to 7 months of age though this can vary a lot. The lower incisors (front teeth) are usually the first to appear, followed by the upper incisors. The full set of 20 milk teeth erupts by the age of 3.

Some children already have a tooth when they are born. This is referred to as the ‘natal tooth.’ If this tooth is loose or it causes an ulcer on the undersurface of the tongue whilst feeding, it may need to be extracted.

Q. Is teething accompanied by fever and diarrhea?

A: No, teething does not cause fever or diarrhea. It is more due to your child placing unclean objects into the mouth. Mobile phones, bag straps etc are a source of infection, not to mention their own grubby fingers!

Other signs of teething may include drooling, sucking, biting, gum rubbing, facial rash, irritability and decreased appetite.

Q. Any advice on teething?

A: From six months to age 3, your child may have sore gums when teeth erupt. Many children like to bite/chew on a clean teething ring or cold wet cloth. Some parents simply rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger. Sometimes chewing on a carrot stick, or celery stick does help to ease their irritability. Topical anesthetics gels do not help much in relieving the pain of teething.

Massaging the gums, increasing fluid intake and providing analgesics will help in relieving the pain.

Q. Why are baby teeth important?

A: Baby teeth, or primary teeth, help children to bite and chew food so it is easily digested. Front teeth(incisors) help your child to develop correct speech.

Importantly, baby teeth retain space for the permanent teeth and guide them into their correct position as they erupt around the age of 5 or 6 years.

Healthy baby teeth are vital for a child’s confidence and appearance.

Q. When should my child first see a dentist?

A: “First visit by first birthday” is what is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, but a visit by the second birthday is advisable, as most of your baby’s teeth would have now erupted. Regular 6 monthly visits by age 3 are a must.

This has a dual benefit, as it not only ensures your child’s good oral health but also makes your child comfortable in the dental setting.

Q. Who is a Pediatric Dentist?

A: The pediatric dentist is the specialist who is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen-age years. They have special training that allows them to provide the most up-to-date and thorough treatment for a variety of dental problems specific to your child. Their training in child psychology helps make your child comfortable during the various dental procedures. The Pediatric Dentist’s endeavour is not only to treat the dental problem but also ensure that the child leaves the clinic with a smile.

Q. What is baby bottle tooth decay?

A: serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.

Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel.

Q. How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing?

A: Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle.

At-will nighttime breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt. Drinking juice from a bottle should also be avoided. Use a cup instead.

After each feed, make sure to lift the upper lip and clean the milk residue with clean moist gauze once your child has fallen asleep. This will reduce the chances of Early Childhood Caries.

Ideally they should be weaned off bottle-feeding around the age of 1. To wean off the bottle, gradually dilute the contents of the bottle milk or beverage with water over a period of two or three weeks.

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