Parents, here is your chance to make a huge positive impact on your children dental health. You can help your children:
|01.||Prevent dental decay.|
|02.||Avoid suffering tooth ache, dental abscess.|
|03.||Avoid early tooth loss which not only cause loss of function but could potentially leads to development of misalignment of permanent teeth.|
|04.||Eliminate orofacial muscle habits known to cause malocclusion such as digital sucking.|
|05.||Prevent certain permanent discoloration to your child primary and permanent teeth.|
Dental care for your child can be look at in stages but keep in mind that it is a continuum and not mutually exclusive.
Prenatal CareCare start from the time you decide to conceive. You should consult with your physician regarding proper nutrition, exercises, dietary supplements before, during and after your pregnancy. Mother taking illegal drugs during pregnancy increases her risk for anemia, blood and heart infections, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. She also is at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Heroin, cocaine, and other additive drugs are not necessarily deforming substances, but use can cause withdrawal in the newborn as well as growth retardation in the unborn baby.
Alcohol abuse can cause what is called fetal alcohol syndrome, associated with deformed teeth and facial features and mental retardation. Marijuana, like cigarettes, has many chemicals in it besides THC, which is detrimental to the baby central nervous system development.
The critical period of embryonic development, when the major organ systems develop, starts at about 17 days post conception and is completed by 60 to 70 days. Exposure to certain drugs during this period can cause major birth defects. Some drugs can interfere with functional development of organ systems and CNS in 2nd and 3rd trimester and produce serious consequences. During the last 12 weeks of pregnancy, drug use poses the greatest risk for stunting fetal growth and causing pre-term birth.
Do not use tetracycline, an antibiotic use to treat many different bacterial infections (urinary tract infections, acne, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, ear infection), if you are pregnant. It could cause permanent discoloration of baby’s teeth later on in life. Do not give tetracycline to a child younger than 8 years old. It can cause permanent browning and graying of the teeth, and it can affect a child’s growth. The same apply to doxycycline (Atridex). It primary use is to help treat periodontal disease. Doxycycline can discolor or affect the development of your unborn baby’s teeth. Iron supplement can stain the baby teeth a dark color. However, this is rare, only 1 in 1000 children are susceptible to this type of staining.
Care for Children Age 0 to 1 Year OldOral hygiene starts before the baby’s first tooth. Using a clean, damp, washcloth or a terrycloth finger cots (they are sold in many drug stores) gently rub along the baby’s upper and lower gums. Do this at least twice a day- once after breakfast and once after the last feeding of the day, no matter how late. As soon as your child teeth develop contacts i.e. they are touching each other side by side, start flossing them and switch to a soft-bristle infant-sized toothbrush.
Fluoride helps prevent dental decay by strengthen the tooth structure making it less susceptible to acid attacks (acid is formed when bacteria in plaque break down sugars and carbohydrates from the diet). Fluoride also repairs or remineralized areas where acids damage just started. But excess fluoride can cause problem.
Community water fluoridation recommended level is 0.7 parts fluoride per million parts water (PPM). Fluoride level in excess of 2PPM can lead to fluorosis or chalk like streaks on a toddler’s teeth as well as his/her permanent teeth. Be careful when using fluoridated tap water in a baby’s formula, notes Mayo Clinic emeritus Dr. Jay Hoecker, as it might increase the level of fluoride in the baby’s diet to level that can cause fluorosis.
Dietary fluoride supplements are available only by prescription and are intended for use by children ages 6 months through 16years living in nonfluoridated areas and at high risk of developing tooth decay. Internet Websites that supply information on how much fluoride is in your local water supply are: Consumer Confidence Reports and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and MyWater’sFluoride.
Other conditions which may cause discoloration of your child’s teeth are:
- If a newborn develop jaundice after birth, the child’s teeth may have a greenish tint related to jaundice.
- In some cases, infection during infancy can result in discolored primary teeth. Newborn hepatitis, certain types of heart diseases, chronic illness, and recurrent bouts of excessively high fevers can cause a toddler’s teeth to become discolored.
- A devitalized tooth, when the nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth is no longer functioning, will appear a darker color. A tooth can become devitalized as a result of force trauma i.e. a fall that hit the tooth, or decay. Devitalization may take months to years from the incident to manifest. If you notice any change in your child tooth/teeth coloration bring him/her in for a check as devitalized tooth can lead to infection.
Ages 3 to 5 YearsContinue with supervised flossing and brushing. Established routine dental checkups at 6 months intervals. At the age of 4 to 5 years, most children have given up their sucking habits. The shape of their jaw is usually not affected if they stop this habit by this age. The teeth should grow in normally.
Prolong this sucking habit can lead to:
- Slanting out of their top front teeth.
- Tilting in of their bottom front teeth.
- Misaligned of upper and lower jaws.
- Narrowing of the roof of the mouth.
(from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine):
- Use positive reinforcement.
- Track progress by noting every successful day using a sticker of star on a chart.
- Put an adhesive bandage on the finger as a reminder or have your child wears a mitten when sleeping.
- Take the finger out of your child’s mouth after he or she falls asleep. Heredity factors and environmental factors, thumb-sucking, premature loss of primary teeth, nail biting, nasopharyngeal disease and disturbed respiratory function (produce mouth-breathing and altered craniofacial morphology), tongue-thrusting, lip sucking and abnormal tongue posturing can cause the child’s malocclusion. Orthodontic intervention is based on how severe is the problem and not necessarily on how old is the child. Treatment’s goal then is to restore the child’s dentition to his or her age appropriate stage of development.
Ages 5 to 12 YearsCheck on your child’s flossing and brushing techniques making sure they do it correctly and consistently. Watch for a transition into permanent teeth starting with the loss of lower 2 front teeth, the eruptions of the permanent lower two front teeth and permanent first lower molars (the big ones in the back) at around age 5 to 6. The eruptions of these large molars may cause some discomfort in some children and may be sooth with some over the counter topical anesthetics such as Ambesol. The pattern of exfoliation and eruption is that of lowers followed by uppers and front to back, except for first permanent molars which erupts at around age 6. Most girls will have a full set of permanent teeth by age 12 and the same for most boys by age 14.
Ages 13 to 16 YearsTeenagers! Reinforced strict oral hygiene habits. They tend to stray at this stage especially the boys. In general, if the problem of teeth misalignment is severe then corrective orthodontics, i.e. braces, should start as soon as the child has his or her four upper, four lower front teeth and all four first molars fully erupted (around age 10 to 11). Otherwise, most orthodontic treatment can be starts as soon as all permanent dentition have erupted.
All that being said the reality is that we live in an imperfect world. The knowledge, means and or time may not be available to us. For kids who experience dental maladies, the treatments are technically simpler than adult’s dentition with one major exception. Will the child cooperate? In most cases with proper show and tell techniques and a gradual approach treatments can be rendered successfully. In some cases the child has to be sedated for treatments. Sedation can be achieved with oral medications with or without nitrous oxide or intravenous sedation.
Acquire proper prenatal care, establish effective and consistence oral hygiene routine, recognize and eliminate harmful oral habits, and regular professional dental checkup (this is not a deal breaker as its importance ranked far behind the others conditions) equal a life time of healthy dentition, another great gift for your child.