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Childhood can be an important time for the oral health of a child. It’s as a kid that they learn to brush their teeth as part of a day-to-day self-care routine. It’s also when their baby teeth begin to fall out, replaced by their adult teeth. Here are some tips that Dr. Eguren recommends in order to help your child develop the best smile they can.
A Bottle at Night
Anyone who has put a young child to bed will know that giving the child a bottle of milk will help ease them into sleep. While this may be true, the dangers to the child's oral health are great. Giving a child milk or juice before they fall asleep allows for the bacteria and sugars in the drinks to combine with the child's saliva and multiply causing early tooth decay. If the child needs a bottle to fall asleep, put water in it.
How Often Should My Child See the Dentist?
We recommend that a child's first required dental visit be at the age of 3. Prior to that, we recommend that the child be brought in for a happy visit. A happy visit is a chance for the child to get to know us better and feels comfortable at the dental office.
Depending on the child's dental habits, an annual check-up and light cleaning and polish may be all that they require until they reach the age of 10. If we find that there are some dental issues at a young age, we will request that you bring your child in every 6 months until the issues are resolved. Between the ages of 10 and 17, we like to see the child on a 6-month schedule to ensure that their teeth are coming in properly, and that their dental hygiene is maintained now that they are brushing on their own. It is especially important for the teenage kids!
Children’s Tender Gums
It is not uncommon to have parents give us a call regarding their children’s tender gums. The explanation for this is simple – your child is probably getting their permanent teeth. A child’s first set of teeth will consist of ten teeth on the top and ten on the bottom. They will look very much like adult teeth just smaller.
As early as age 6 your child may experience tenderness behind their baby molars. This tenderness is caused by the permanent teeth starting to push through the gums. Just like their baby teeth, this process may take up to a few months. If you feel that this is taking too long, feel free to bring your child in and have Dr. Eguren check to see if everything is progressing normally.
Thumb sucking in infancy and early childhood (to the age of 2) is a natural reflex for many children. Thumb sucking becomes a problem when it continues past this age. As the habit continues the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of the permanent teeth can be affected. The positioning of the thumb in the mouth may also cause detrimental changes in the roof of the mouth. If your child continues to suck his thumb into his preschool years, you should consult your dentist.
Space Between Baby Teeth
Consider yourself lucky if your child has a “holey” smile! Having small spaces between the baby teeth is the best situation that can exist for the development to the permanent teeth. The spaces are there to make room for the larger permanent teeth that are on the way. Children with spaces are less likely to need braces at a later date.