Children's Dental Health

  CHILDREN'S DENTAL HEALTH


Children’s Dental Exams

Has your child's first tooth come in? Has he had his first birthday? If yes, then it is time to take him to the dentist for a well baby dental checkup. Parents should bring their child with them to the dentist's office before age 1. It seems early, but dental professionals can identify developmental issues as well as conditions like baby bottle tooth decay at a young age.

Not only can a dental exam identify serious oral conditions, it can also serve as a way to make children more comfortable in the exam chair. Your dentists can also show you ways to prevent tooth decay through healthy habits -- brushing teeth twice and flossing once per day, and limiting sugary liquids and snacks.

In between exams, look for the following dental problem warning signs:

   : Tendency to only chew on one side of the mouth

   : Touching or fidgeting with a tooth

   : Reluctance to eat hard things

                                                       

 






 

                                                   
 

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 

Causes: Decay occurs when infants are repeatedly given bottles of sweet liquids like fruit juice, formula or milk at bedtime or naptime. When the liquid is left clinging to a child’s teeth, bacteria forms and produces teeth-attacking acids that will cause decay. This can be very destructive to baby teeth in a short period of time.

Symptoms:

   : Pain

   : Sensitive teeth

Diagnosis and Treatment: A dentist can diagnose baby bottle tooth decay but it may be too late to save the teeth by the time it becomes noticeable. Prevent tooth decay by wiping the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad after feeding. It is a good rule to never allow the child to fall asleep with a bottle of sweetened liquid—including milk or formula. A clean pacifier is a dentist-recommended alternative to the bottle.

  

 

Thumbsucking

Causes: Thumbsucking is a natural reflex for a baby plus it often relaxes children and makes them feel happy and secure. The problem with thumbsucking is that it may cause teeth and the roof of the mouth to grow improperly.        

Symptoms: Children who suck their thumb aggressively rather than passively are more likely to develop dental problems. If a child is older than four years of age and still sucks his thumb, great damage to the oral cavity can occur.

Diagnosis and Treatment: A dentist can identify changes in a child’s baby teeth but it is suggested that a child stop thumbsucking before identifiable signs such as the following are present:

 
  : Misalignment of teeth


:
Changes to the roof of the mouth


:
Affected speech
                                       
                       



 

    Help Your Child Stop Thumbsucking:

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Praise the child for not sucking his thumb - do not scold him.
  
 :

  
Children suck their thumb when they need comfort or feel insecure. Focus on providing comfort and lessening anxiety.
   Have the dentist inform the child of thumbsucking implications.
 
 :


Bandage the child's thumb at night with a sock or apply a bitter-tasting medication to the thumb to break the habit during sleep.
  :
Involve the child in the process.