in 1987 World Health Organization declares 31st may as world no tobacco day in attempt to draw glabal attention towards negative health effects of tobacco use. in conjunction with this day we would like to highlight our previous entry on this subject:
how early do we actually introduce the dentist to our children? i get a lot of these type of questions from parents. when indeed? the moment their first tooth erupt? or the moment they start shedding their milk tooth? or when they tell you they have toothache, and you've given them painkiller but those don't work no more??
i'm 3 months old and my tooth are coming out soon!
in an ideal world, the best time to start bringing your child to meet your dentist are when they start having teeth, say, when they have like 2 or 4 or 6 teeth. don't worry, we are not going to do any treatment to your baby, but we can show you the correct way on how to clean those teeth and discuss on the special needs of your child; e.g. what to do if your child has to sleep with his bottle in his mouth, the use of pacifier, problems during teething and thumbsucking, and so on so forth. as a guide, your child's first visit to the dentist should be before he celebrates his first birthday.
i am 4 years old and my mommy watch me brush my teeth!
our child will have a complete set of milk teeth when he reached 2 years of age. during all those times we as parents should be the ones who has been brushing their teeth up to when they are 3 years old. this is because their motor control (i.e. their ability to hold the toothbrush) are still a little bit impaired. when they are 3 years old, slowly teach them to brush by themselves. supervised toothbrushing should be done up until they are 8 years old (9 or 10 for boys) so that you are assured they really does brush their ALL their teeth, not just the front surface. also, toothbrushing session should last for at least 2 minutes. visit to the dentist during this age (2-6 years) are also important, not just to check any early caries lesion and eruption of his teeth, but also to discuss your child's need of nonfluoridated or fluoridated toothpaste and also additional fluoride treatment.
with newfound feet (and freedom :D) toddlers and children are much more prone to falls and injuries. we should immediately seek treatment if this unfortunate events should happen for the dentist to be able to assess the injuries and explain treatment options our child might need. if ever a permanent teeth fall off during the accident, try and save that fallen tooth by soaking it in milk or salt water or the child's own saliva. we might be able to reinsert the tooth back if you are able to seek impromptu treatment. for active children, to prevent these sort of injuries we can costruct a customized mouthguard for them. mouthguards are also recommended to sporty schoolchildren, motorcyclists and those who habitually grind their teeth (during stress or sleeping).
milk tooth will start being replaced by permanent tooth when our child reaches the age 6, starting with the lower front teeth. our child's teeth will look uneven and not very nice between ages 6-10 because of mixed dentition (some tooth are milk tooth, and some are permanent, so difference in sizes makes their set of teeth looks uneven). we call this mixed dentition stage as 'ugly duckling stage'. dont worry if their front teeth appears so huge, this is because those permanent front teeth are for a much larger jaw, and his jaw will grow as he grows. the most important part is not to hurry extracting the milk tooth. it is essential to wait until the permanent tooth appears or until the milk tooth becomes loose. this is because, the earlier we extract our child's milk teeth, the more possibility of their permanent teeth become malaligned. think of the milk teeth as sort of 'tour guide' to his permanent teeth; without the guidance of the milk teeth's root, the permanent teeth will be lost and can end up not at the area that they suppose to be,resulting in the malalignment.
our children are precious, and so does their teeth. we,as adult, do feel the agony of having toothache; and so does them and most probably much more. so bring them for routine check ups and not when its too late and they are already in pain. prevention is better than suffer.