With our caring staff at Dental Matters, we are a true family dentist in Adelaide, where we will make your children feel welcome and comfortable.
A child’s life is full of the delights of birthday parties and the delicious treats given to them on a regular basis. Although we cannot deny them of these pleasures, parents must take a proactive approach to preventing tooth decay.
Providing our children with a healthy diet without sweets, suger-laden and starchy foods can be difficult in our society of fast food and quick fix treats. But health for healths sake must still be encouraged by both setting an example for your children and making sure healthy foods are available as a regular part of your children’s diet.
Fruit is a tasty and healthy alternative to sweets, and it is encouraged to make fruit available for your children on a daily basis. The traditional apple in the school lunch is still the best way to prevent tooth decay during the day between their morning and evening teeth brushing, and should be a part of their daily routine.
Oral health is essential to your child’s growth and development, general health and self-esteem. A visit to the dentist at an early age is important to identify problems with your child’s jaw growth and development, and to identify early signs of decay and poor oral hygiene. It also helps to develop a positive relationship with our dentists and hygienists at an early age.
Take the time to develop good brushing and flossing habits from an early age. It will make this often monotonous task part of their daily routine; for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Dental hygiene should begin shortly after a child is born. After every feeding a clean, warm wash cloth or gauze should be used to gently cleanse the inside of the mouth.
Dental ailments that your baby could contract
Early Childhood Caries
ECC is caused by:
- Sugars and carbohydrates in the child’s diet.
- Beverages that contain sugar such as milk, infant formula, fruit juice, or any other liquid that is sweetened with sugar.
- Bacteria transferred from the caregiver to the child.
- The frequency of feedings.
- Allowing a child to fall asleep with bottle that contains any liquid other than pure water.
Signs of thrush include:
- White patches that appear to coat the tongue, inside tissue of the cheek, and gums.
- Irregular-shaped patches that are not able to be wiped away, sticking to the tissue.
- Pain when feeding or using a pacifier.
You can prevent early childhood decay by:
- Offering a pacifier rather than a bottle during naps and bed time.
- Speak with your dentist for advice on how to expose your child to fluoride, if it is not available through your water supply. Fluoride is recommended by the Australian Dental Association to strengthen teeth, which may prevent tooth decay.
- If using a bottle during periods of sleep, fill the bottle with only pure water.
What is teething?:
So Much Pain for Such Small Teeth
Teething can begin at around 3 months old but typically begins when your child is 6 to 7 months old.
Signs of teething may include:
- Excessive drooling
- “Gumming” or biting
- Appearance of a rash around the mouth, or on the face
- Decrease in appetite
- Excessive crying
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in bowel movements
Here are some tips to keep in mind when your baby is teething:
- Wipe your baby’s face often with a cloth to remove the drool and prevent rashes from developing.
- Give your baby something to chew on. Make sure it’s big enough so that it can’t be swallowed and that it can’t break into small pieces. A wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes makes a handy teething aid — just be sure to wash it after each use. Rubber teething rings are also good, but avoid ones with liquid inside because they may break or leak. If you use a teething ring, be sure to take it out of the freezer before it becomes rock hard — you don’t want to bruise those already swollen gums!
- Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
- Never tie a teething ring around a baby’s neck — it could get caught on something and strangle the baby.
- If your baby seems irritable, ask your doctor if it is okay to give a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for babies older than 6 months) to ease discomfort. Never place an aspirin against the tooth, and don’t rub alcohol on your baby’s gums.
- Talk to your doctor or dentist before using over-the-counter pain reducers or desensitizing gel.
We recommend children visit the dentist at approximately 2 years of age. On your child’s first visit, they will meet with one of our dental staff and we make sure it is a fun adventure for them.
Your child may not wish to sit in the chair on their first visit and that is OK, trust takes time. They may feel more secure on your lap where we count their teeth together. Some children bring a teddy to join in on the fun, and most importantly we have a staff of caring ladies that ensure your child has a positive association with the dentist and hygienist especially on their first visit.
Prior to their first visit, why not bring your child in with you while you have your teeth cleaned. This introduces them to the dentist in a relaxed and safe environment. We may even give them a ride in the chair.
It is recommended that your child should have their first set of x-rays to show between their teeth when the contacts between the baby teeth close, this is a hidden area where plaque collects and decay may start.
Check your child’s mouth regularly for swollen, bleeding or reddened gums, it is important to detect signs of potential gum problems early.
When your child is around 2 years old, you can begin using a ‘pea’ size amount of children’s toothpaste when brushing their teeth, and when the gaps between your child’s teeth close, it is important to start flossing.
Serve as a good role model by practising good oral health care habits yourself and schedule frequent dental check-ups for your family. Remember that the bacteria which cause dental decay can be transmitted between family members so make sure everyone attends their appointment to prevent decay spreading through the family, and don’t share toothbrushes.
Unfortunately, children eat and drink many things which can encourage tooth decay.
Daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on sweet food and drinks and regular dental care as directed by the team at Dental Matters will do much to reduce tooth decay.
However, these tactics cannot be guaranteed to stop the problem of decay altogether.
This is because the chewing surfaces of children’s back teeth contain pits and fissures which are so narrow that even a toothbrush filament is too large to reach inside and clean thoroughly.
Sealants are protective plastic coatings applied on the pits, fissures, and grooves of permanent teeth. They form a shield keeping bacteria from getting into the teeth’s minute crevices. The smoother surfaces resulting from the application of the sealants also make cleaning teeth easier.
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It is certainly important for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to be exposed to fluoride. This is the timeframe during which the primary and permanent teeth come in. However, adults benefit from fluoride, too. New research indicates that topical fluoride from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments are as important in fighting tooth decay as in strengthening developing teeth.
“It is important to remember children should use reduced fluoride toothpaste, and no toothpaste at all for children under 2 years of age unless prescribed by a dentist.”
The most critical years associated with the formation of dental fluorosis lie between birth and age 6 or 7.
Other things can cause fluorosis. For example, taking a higher-than-prescribed amount of a fluoride supplement during early childhood can cause it. So can taking a fluoride supplement when fluoridated drinking water or fluoride-fortified fruit juices and soft drink already provide the right amount.