Caring for a child is a dynamic process, which starts as soon as the child is born.
We become parents without a user manual or good practice guidelines, and we raise our children, relying on our own feeling, experience and skills.
In recent decades, the age threshold of the first occurrence of tooth cavities among the youngest children has been steadily dropping. If the first tooth cavities in children, born in the 1960s and 1980s appeared at the age of four and a half to five, after the year 2000 and particularly in the past 10 years, the age of the first cavities has dropped to 3-3,5 years, and sometimes even less.
is important to know that baby teeth must be cared for from the very moment they erupt. A child’s healthy teeth are as important as for their overall health, as the health of all the organs and systems in their bodies.
Here is my advice to all current and future parents:
1) Visit a pediatric dentist in the 1st year of your child’s life.
It is best to arrange this visit in the period when child’s first teeth erupt. Pediatric dentist’s mission is to explain to the parents the need of prophylaxis, the eruption timeline, how to properly choose the appropriate hygiene means, what to pay attention to and when to visit a specialist.
2) Make the brushing of child’s teeth a habit.
Making brushing a child’s teeth twice a day a habit is similar to establishing the habit of regularly washing their hands. Between the ages of 2 and 6 years, hygiene habits are most easily established. Brushing is also related to fine motor skills in children, so let kids brush their kids and get smarter -)
3) Baby teeth also need treatment.
Just like permanent teeth, these are also made-up of enamel and dentin, and just like them baby teeth are destroyed by high acidity and bacterial invasion. A cavity in the primary dentition develops much faster, because the level of mineralization of the enamel is several times lower than that of the permanent teeth. Underneath each temporary tooth, there is a germ of the permanent tooth, and there is a link between them, therefore an infection of the baby tooth, can easily spread to the permanent tooth germ.
4) Decayed baby teeth can produce fever, result in oedema or pain in the mouth, loss of appetite, and such infection may even affect the hearth, joints and kidneys. Children with multiple decayed teeth cannot eat properly, don’t chew, food reaches their stomach only partially processed, resulting in peristaltic and defecation issues.
5) Children must brush their teeth, only using children’s toothpastes, because their ingredients are aligned with their specific needs. These toothpastes must not have strong and intrusive taste and aroma.
6) The comforter is not your child’s best friend – it may cause bite and teeth alignment issues. Get rid of it as soon as possible, but beware – often sucking a comforter is replaced by thumb-sucking!
7) The sooner nighttime feeding is discontinued, the better. Adapted milk, juice or sweetened water at night are among the key culprits for the so-called Early Childhood Caries, affecting almost all tooth groups in the mouth.
8) Nutrition is directly related to tooth decay.
Consuming too much candy, fuzzy-drinks, snacks, crisps, breadsticks, snacking between meals can produce a constant reservoir of food residues on the teeth, which are a depot for the development of cariogenic bacteria, attacking the enamel (particularly in the absence of proper hygiene). After some time, this destroys the enamel and cavities form at that spot.
But can we do without treats? No – what makes a childhood sweet are the candies, always connected to certain good memories. The consumption of candy and other sweets should be controlled by the parents, and not given as incentives or rewards in the form of a dessert. It is best that children eat pure chocolate, it dissolves easily in the mouth and is washed away by saliva, while biscuits, waffles, lollipops, chewing candy stick to tooth surfaces and remain there for a very long time.
These are just a few of my advices to parents. Regular care ensure lifelong strong and healthy teeth, because 95% of all tooth problems depend on us!