Caring For Children’s Teeth: Everything You Should Learn
It is necessary to start caring for teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts (usually around six months). For up to one year, cleaning the childrens’s teeth in the morning and in the evening using a so-called finger (or soaked cotton, gauze, or pulp) is sufficient. The paste is unnecessary for now, clean water is enough. It is also necessary to start with prevention.
Tip: Do not let the baby suck on the formula bottle for long. He should drink it all at once.
Teething and Toddler
Parents should brush their children’s teeth with a children’s toothbrush in toddlerhood. They still can’t do it themselves, even if they like to clean them. The teeth are cleaned with a brush in circular motions with an emphasis on the surfaces of the teeth on the side of the tongue and the face, where cavities are most common.
It is also time to start using a paste with a fluoride content (400-500 ppm – individual pastes differ in the fluoride content of the paste in ppm values.) To simplify, orienting yourself according to the recommended age on the paste is possible.
Tip: Brush your teeth with your children so that they learn good habits from you. Children at this age try to imitate their parents.
Teeth and Older Children
Preschool age (3-6 years) is the ideal time for the first visit to a dental hygienist, who further motivates the child and supports the habit of brushing their teeth correctly.
At school age (7-11 years), the child has already experienced proper tooth brushing and can leave this activity up to him, but it is still advisable for parents to brush their children’s teeth at least in the evening. It’s time for a paste with a higher fluoride content (400-1000 ppm).
In the period of puberty (from 12 years), it is time to buy an interdental brush for children – the dental hygienist will recommend the right type after measuring the interdental spaces. Children’s mouthwashes are not needed. Mechanical removal of dental plaque is essential.
First Visit to the Dentist
The first checkup should occur as soon as the first teeth erupt; however, at the latest, around the 1st year of the child’s age.
From then on, it is essential to remember to go for regular checkups every six months so that the child gets used to the checkup. If a child goes to the dentist for the first time with a sore tooth, it often means a big problem. Then it isn’t easy to get the child to cooperate, and he is usually traumatized even for the subsequent visits.
How to Choose your First Toothbrush
The first brush should have soft, dense, straight-cut fibres and a small head for better handling and access to all places.
I recommend changing the brush if the fibres change their shape (approximately once a month) and after an infectious disease. The brush should be stored in a dry place – resist closed decorative boxes.
Make Cleaning Fun
By age 3, children try very hard to imitate their parents and enjoy it. That’s why parents should take advantage of it. Set a good example for them and have cleaning together as a pleasant ritual.
In kindergarten, children usually brush their teeth together and motivate each other. Bright colours of the brush, a brush with pictures of animals or favourite heroes, various stands for the brush, etc., can also help in motivation. Schoolchildren can use a unique solution that colours the plaque. It represents plaque and is “proof” of whether or not plaque is present on the teeth after home cleaning.
Suitability of Electric Brushes
I recommend only electric or sonic (ultrasound) toothbrushes if the child can clean himself perfectly well with a classic toothbrush. I recommend a sonic (ultrasonic) brush rather than a rotary one. I recommend the electric rotary brush to teenagers or adults. With excessive pressure or careless use, there is a risk of gum injury.
Foods that Hurt Teeth
Very inappropriate foods are those that contain too much sugar. With most minor children, we should not unnecessarily prolong breastfeeding – that is, if the infant falls asleep at the breast, nurses and falls asleep again… that means he constantly has a coating of sugar on his teeth.
Older children should avoid sugary drinks and large amounts of sweets. It is good that many children brush their teeth in kindergartens, but unfortunately, they no longer have that opportunity at school. And so I recommend candies and chewing gum containing xylitol to schoolchildren, which you can buy in pharmacies.
Other Things also affect the Condition of Teeth
Scabies is an infectious disease, just like the common cold. Tooth decay is caused by cariogenic (cariogenic) bacteria, e.g. Streptococcus mutans, so any activity where a parent transfers bacteria from their oral cavity to the child’s mouth and thus infects it is inappropriate.
In this direction, instructing the persons who look after the child, e.g. grandparents, is also necessary. Major sins include licking the pacifier and the spoon when serving food. The same applies to siblings or friends (tasting a lollipop).
The Dentist Needn’t Be Afraid
I know from experience that a child is only afraid of a visit if he has had a previous bad experience. So, for example, treatment of a sore tooth. If the child goes to regular checkups twice a year after the first tooth erupts, he will be prepared for any intervention and cooperate better. Parents should always set an example for their children. You can take your child with you on your tour for better motivation.
One should certainly not lie to the child and keep the promise – that is, tell him in advance and truthfully what awaits him. A common problem I encounter is when a parent tells a child they are just going for a checkup, but the plan is to repair a tooth with decay. Therefore, support and a small reward are essential after visiting the doctor’s office.
Generally, we try to prevent situations where the child does not want to be treated. Our patients come with children already pregnant and are instructed on how and when to start taking care of their children’s teeth.
For “timid” patients, young and old, we have good experience with analgosedation treatment. This is a sleep treatment. With the participation of an anaesthetist, the child is given a substance to drink, after which he calms down. Subsequently, the anaesthetist injects a sedative into the vein, after which the child sleeps in the chair, and the dentist can work. The child does not feel anything during the procedure or remember the process.
Necessary Care for Milk Teeth As Well
Baby teeth have their functions: If they fall out earlier, there is a risk of:
- To put it simply, the permanent teeth will be cut crookedly. For this reason, braces etc., are often needed later.
- If inflammation occurs around the tooth, i.e. in the bone, the proper development of the permanent successor, which is still developing in the bone, may be threatened.
- That is why it is necessary to solve caries even on children’s teeth.
Hereditary Tooth Decay
Susceptibility to hereditary decay is one of the myths about teeth in general. Only the habit of taking care of the teeth is hereditary. As already mentioned, tooth decay is an infectious disease. Bacteria survive in plaque, a coating on the teeth composed mainly of food residues.
A dentist should advise each parent individually about visiting a dental hygienist. In general, I recommend a visit at kindergarten age, when the child already understands well. The hygienist will advise on the size of the interdental brush and other tools according to the child’s needs.
What About a Pacifier and Teeth
If the child chews on the pacifier or thumb only when falling asleep or briefly during the day, the teeth may be irregular. Suppose the horrible habit ends before the child is about three years old. In that case, there is often a spontaneous correction of the anomaly, the irregularity of which is not transferred to the permanent dentition.