Maintaining kids oral health is the responsibility of parents. Read here for more details on oral health and it’s importance in children.
Kids oral health – is it important ?
Kids oral health is equally important as that of adults. Kids have milk tooth which is known as primary tooth/teeth. Most of them think that milk tooth anyways sheds and a new permanent tooth erupts; so there is no need to take care of milk tooth. But this notion is completely wrong.
The milk tooth in the mouth of a kid has to serve for long. Some teeth even up to the age of ten to twelve years. The first milk tooth appears somewhere between six months to one year in a child. All the milk tooth i.e. twenty tooth erupt by three to four years of age. The first permanent tooth starts arising by the age of six years by shedding of milk tooth.
Even before the tooth erupts in the oral cavity, it’s the duty of parents to maintain oral hygiene thereby kids oral health. The gums, ridge where tooth erupts, soft tissues of the mouth of the kid should be cleaned using fingers by the parents daily. As the tooth erupts it’s important to visit child specialist called as pedodontist/ pediatric dentist for thorough general check-up and guidance. According to Pediatric Dentistry Association, the first visit of a child to dentist should be at six months of age.
The period when first tooth erupts into oral cavity, this is termed as teething. Kids oral health is important at all the stages of early life. At this phase, the child has tendency to bite things, irritation manifested through cry, child can present with fever, rashes, a small swelling in the gums where future teeth is going to erupt. This is a normal phenomenon indicating it’s the time for tooth eruption.
Specially designed tooth brush and paste are available in the market exclusively for children. Teeth should be brushed in circular motion in kids. The brushing process should be finished in three to five minutes since the parent will be doing it for the child.
How to take care ?
After breast feeding the baby or after intake of milk or any sugar containing liquid, the mouth of the child should be cleaned. If this is not performed, it can lead to caries called as nursing bottle caries. It can spread rampantly to all the teeth leading to loss of tooth. This calls for a dental treatment. The lost tooth has to be replaced since it can hamper the chewing efficiency, speech and confidence of a kid as he or she grows. Early loss of milk tooth can lead to treatments like replacing with crowns/cap or dentures specially designed for kids.
Parents also need to take care that the kids don’t have thumb sucking or tongue thrusting habit. These habits can hamper oral health in children. Thumb sucking in severe cases can lead to misalignment of upcoming future permanent teeth. It can lead to orthodontic problem calling for braces treatment. If this habit isn’t stopped by the age of three years, it needs to be treated by the pedodontist. Appliances are given to the kid which is to be worn in the mouth. Tongue thrusting can also lead to gap between front teeth, child tends to keep the mouth open leading to dry mouth, caries etc. All this has to be closely monitored by parents and when needed intervention by pedodontist.
Take home message
Oral health in children is often neglected. More awareness on its importance is to be told. New parents are to be counselled about oral health in children as well. This area is often not touched leading to oral problem in most of the kids.
Author: Dr. Siri P.B.