As doctors, it is unfortunate to see parents bringing their young children for dental treatment with complaints that can be prevented through appropriate measures, says Dr. Supravya BS, Professor and Head, Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal. Often, the complaints are, “My child refuses to sleep at night and complains of severe toothache. I have given a painkiller syrup, but it does not seem to help” or “My child’s teeth are broken as soon as they come out. Now I am near the gums.” I can see several boils and he can’t eat. “
What is a dental caries?
Dental caries is a non-communicable disease that affects the teeth of people of all ages. The causes of dental caries are identified as poor oral hygiene practices, high frequency snacking, especially high sugar foods and low exposure to fluoride. When tooth decay occurs in children under 6 years of age, it is called “early childhood decay”. Here are the reasons for early childhood caries
- Improper feeding habits
- Lack of oral hygiene
- Sugary foods during weaning
The effects of dental caries on a child’s health
- A child may have pain complaints that affect daily activities such as sleep, play, school attendance as well as food intake
- Prolonged untreated cavities can affect the quality of the baby’s diet, resulting in the diet being high in refined carbohydrates and sugars that compromise the baby’s nutrition.
- Children can be at risk for a variety of illnesses such as sore throats, earaches or even recurrent episodes of lung infections.
How to prevent cavities in children’s teeth?
Here are some effective ways parents can prevent a child’s tooth cavity.
1. Feeding habits
Although breastfeeding is not harmful to the teeth, incorrect feeding methods can trigger childhood caries. Refrain from feeding the baby by keeping both the baby and the mother lying down. After each feeding, the baby should be stabbed and the milk stored around the teeth or gums (before tooth extraction) should be wrapped around the mother’s index finger with a clean cloth soaked in warm water. It is important to exclusively breastfeed the baby for the first six months of life because it reduces the baby’s vulnerability to allergens, healthy in terms of healthy, essential nutrients and provides good immunity against various diseases.
2. Practice oral hygiene
Wipe the baby’s gums at least twice daily with a clean damp cloth wrapped around the mother / caretaker’s index finger. If the first tooth is seen on the face, it should be brushed twice a day with a finger brush or infant toothbrush. A smear of rice grain size fluoridated toothpaste can be used for better protection against cavities. Excessive use of toothpaste can cause the baby to swallow the toothpaste, which can harm the baby. As the child grows older, parents should brush their child’s teeth twice a day.
Also read: No one has ever told you about flushing before
3. Weaning and diet
Weaning should usually start at six months of age. During this time, when solid or semi-watery foods are introduced to the baby, reduce the use of sugar in their diet. Family Pot Feeding- The best way to ensure nutritious and hollow food for the baby is to give the family food in mashed form before adding extra spices or salt. Avoid introducing sugary foods such as chocolate, candy, etc. until the child is two years old. Breastfeeding, especially at night when weaning, is a process of making cavities in the baby’s infant’s diet with sugary foods.
4. Regular visits to the pediatric dentist
Going to a pediatric dentist will help with early recognition of childhood care. The disease can be controlled if it is detected early according to the advice of the pediatric dentist. They can give you periodic instructions on your child’s dental home care, breastfeeding and weaning procedures. They also evaluate the baby’s diet and suggest a healthy replacement if it is found to have a degenerative tendency. Therefore, it is important that the baby’s first dental visit should be before the baby’s first birthday.
Also read: Tips to protect your aging teeth and gums
5. Parental oral hygiene rules before and during childbirth
Ensuring good nutrition of pregnant mother ensures proper development of fetal teeth. This prevents structural defects in the baby’s teeth which makes them at risk for dental caries. Bacteria that cause cavities often pass from parents (especially mothers) to babies if they have poor oral hygiene and have untreated cavities on their own. This can happen when hugging or kissing the baby or when sharing common utensils like cups and spoons. Therefore, it is important for mothers to take care of their teeth during pregnancy and for parents to treat their cavities.
In conclusion, early childhood erosion should not be neglected, as healthy baby teeth are important for the overall health of the baby. Dental hygiene affects the development of speech, healthy growth of the jaw and healthy permanent teeth in the future. With oral hygiene maintenance, good home care, proper baby feeding and proper eating habits, including periodic care by a pediatric dentist, can prevent or control early childhood erosion and ensure a quality life for your child.
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