Baby teeth are incredibly important for your children.
Acting as space-savers that guide their permanent teeth into their correct place, it’s vital that baby teeth are looked after. Generally, it is recommended that children see a dentist by the age of one year, or within six months of their first tooth coming through. Children’s visits to a dentist from a young age will help them get used to the dentist but also ensure there are no problems with your child’s teeth.
Your child’s first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment.
It is designed to give your child an opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly way. During the examination, your dentist will check your child’s development, look for any potential problems and provide a great opportunity to ask questions and get advice on any development or cleaning issues or concerns.
Overall, regular children check-ups with the dentist can help prevent this disease and ensure your children’s teeth stay healthy and let them grow, talk, develop and smile as normal.
Caring for children's teeth
There are many problems that can affect your child’s dental health, including thumb sucking and sugary foods. The biggest and most common problem in children under five years of age is baby bottle tooth decay.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a type of tooth decay caused by sweetened liquids clinging to children’s teeth for a long time. Bacteria in the mouth will feed on the sugary liquid, creating an acid that dissolves your children’s teeth, causing severe pain or tooth loss.
The risk of this tooth decay is increased when your child drinks from a baby bottle, has a lot of sugary food or drinks or uses a pacifier (dummy) that’s dipped in sugar or honey.
Badly decayed baby teeth could lead to an abscessed tooth, with the possibility of infection spreading elsewhere. Damage to baby teeth can cause your child to develop poor eating habits and speech problems, as well as crooked or damaged permanent teeth.
About your child's treatment
How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay
During the day, to calm or comfort your baby, don’t give a bottle filled with sugary liquids or milk; instead, give plain water or substitute a pacifier. Don’t dip your baby’s pacifier in sugar, honey, or any sugary liquid. Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with sugary liquids or allow your baby to nurse continuously throughout the night while sleeping. Use a pacifier or give your baby a bottle filled with plain water instead.
Use a wet cloth or gauze to wipe your child’s teeth and gums after each feeding. This helps remove any bacteria-forming plaque and excess sugar that have built up on the teeth and gums. Ask your dentist about your baby’s fluoride needs. If your drinking water is not fluoridated, fluoride supplements or fluoride treatments may be needed.
Use a cup
Teach your baby to drink from a cup by their first birthday. Moving to a “sippy cup” reduces the teeth’s exposure to sugars; however, constant sipping from the cup can still result in decay unless it is filled with plain water.
Generally, it’s normal and healthy for infants to suck their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, or toys. Object sucking gives children a sense of emotional security and comfort. However, if thumb sucking continues beyond the age of 5 – when the permanent teeth begin to come in – dental problems may occur. Depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of the sucking, the teeth can be pushed out of alignment, causing them to protrude and create an overbite.
The child may also have difficulty with the correct pronunciation of words. In addition, the upper and lower jaws can become misaligned and the roof of the mouth might become malformed