If you are a parent who believes that because your child’s baby teeth would eventually fall off, therefore dental care is unnecessary at this juncture, this article is written for you. Many parents are amused that the dentist would bother to write down a treatment plan for an infant or even suggest x-rays. After all, they ask, why go through all the trouble if the milk teeth will fall off? Why not simply extract the tooth or prescribe some medicine to relieve the pain?
It is important to note that the child’s milk teeth perform a critical role that makes it possible for your infant to chew, bite, swallow, speak and even smile. Your child is only able to carry out these simple but critical functions if their baby teeth remain healthy and intact – this can last to 13 years of age. In order to preserve the structural and functional harmony of the mouth during this time, milk teeth should be looked after and monitored for decay or cavity, the same way you would adult teeth.
Depending on the individual, the first milk teeth typically arrive around the age of five months. Do not be alarmed if you find your baby in a cranky mood when the milk teeth start to arrive. In fact, it’s a common symptom that you should be looking out for. They will also be chewing and gnawing at their toys or pillows, drooling constantly and even developing a rash. Just make sure that the symptoms are not too extreme – such as vomiting – or you would have to contact your baby’s doctor immediately.
As parents, it is understandable that you would want to help to relieve the child from teething pangs but there really isn’t a lot you can do. If you wish to provide the child something to chew on, be careful not to give them an object that may cause choking or harm the future growth of their teeth and gums.
You may try teething rings that are sold by most baby product suppliers. They can help to soothe the gums of a teething baby and are especially useful when served cold – but NOT completely frozen. The cold helps to numb the sore gums and provide temporary relief.
During the teething period, parents may also wish to pay particular attention to the possibility of the child developing ear infections. That’s because the ears and mouth are connected, hence the hearing faculties become rather vulnerable during this season.
You don’t need a toothbrush until your child’s baby teeth emerge. Just use a washcloth to gently clean the gums. Even when the baby’s teeth have come in, do not use an adult toothbrush. Instead, use soft bristled toothbrushes that are designed for infants and toddlers – brushing once in the morning and again before bedtime. As for toothpastes, only start using them when your child is about three years or older. That’s because any younger, they are prone to swallow the toothpaste, which has poisonous chemicals unsuitable for ingestion.
As a general rule, you can bring your baby to visit the dentist about 6 months following the eruption of the first tooth. The first visit is typically to familiarize the child with the dentist’s environment and to identify as well as prevent any early signs of tooth decay or cavities.
If you are looking for a trusted dental team for your child’s dental and oral care needs, please contact Sydney CBD Dental at 02 9051 0503.