The most common questions which are frequently asked by the parents of infants toddlers to dental practitioners are:
1. Do milk teeth really matter?
2. Will they not fall out soon?
Most people think that Milk Teeth do not matter as they will fall out after a few years. In fact, milk teeth do matter as they are very important for a child's health and overall development.
Healthy milk teeth are important because:
- Help in the proper grinding of food which makes it easy to digest and absorb necessary nutrients.
- Help in the development of correct speech.
- Boost self-esteem by presenting a pretty smile.
- Provide support for the developing facial muscles and give shape to a child's face.
- Maintain the space for Permanent Teeth ( adult teeth ) and help guide them into their proper position.
Even before the appearance of milk teeth, a baby's mouth should be taken care of so as to avoid bacterial growth. Following breastfeeding, a baby's toothless gums will be colonized by bacteria. Hence, start cleaning your baby's gums a few days after birth by-wiping it with a clean, moist gauze pad, or washcloth.
When a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it can drift into the empty space, making it difficult for the adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can result in crowding of the teeth.
A baby's first 20 milk teeth are already present in the jaws at birth and usually begin to appear between 6 months and 1 year of age. As each baby is different, there may be slight changes in the timing of eruption of milk teeth. Generally, the first teeth to come in are the front teeth of both upper and lower jaws.
Most children have a full set of milk teeth by the time they are 3 years of age. During teething, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing a baby's gums with a clean finger or wet clean cloth can be soothing. Also, a baby can be given a clean teething ring to chew on. If your child still experiences irritation or pain, consult a Paediatric Dentist.
Tooth Decay usually starts as white spots on the enamel and may proceed into the deeper layers of the teeth, if left untreated. A dental visits as soon the first tooth cones in and no later than the first birthday is is a well-baby checkup for milk teeth. Besides checking for cavities, a Paediatric Dentist will show you how to clean a baby's teeth properly or handle abnormal habits like thumb sucking.
Start cleaning your child's milk teeth as soon as they start erupting into the oral cavity. A Finger Toothbrush can be used for cleaning a baby's teeth. you can introduce toothpaste when your child's is 18 months old. For children younger than 3 years, use fluoride toothpaste equivalent to the size of a rice grain and for children between 3 and 6 years of age, use a pea- sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Encourage your child to brush his/her teeth twice a day (morning and evening). Supervise your child's brushing to ensure that they brush properly and do not swallow toothpaste.
If a cavity is detected early, a tooth can be restored with simple fillings. If it has proceeded into the deeper layers of a tooth, simple fillings will not be sufficient to save this tooth. Complicated interventions like Root Canal Treatment may become necessary.
In conclusion, it is important to keep Primary Teeth healthy as they hold space for their permanent successors, besides helping in providing good nutrition trough proper chewing; boosting self-esteem, supporting the development of the facial muscles, and giving shape to your child's face. Therefore, take proper care of your baby's milk teeth just as you take care of your permanent teeth.