In a our last blog we discussed basics of good dental hygiene for your child. Today, we will briefly touch upon some common dental concerns and emergencies that kids might have.
Prevention is always better than cure. So the first step towards preventing your infant from getting cavities or what is commonly referred to as “Baby bottle tooth decay” is by beginning an oral hygiene routine within first few days of birth. It’s a simple routine of cleaning your baby’s mouth by gently wiping the gums with a clean gauze pad or soft clean washcloth. This helps removes plaque that can harm the erupting teeth. Infants should finish their bed time or nap time bottle before going to bed. Once your child starts getting his/ her teeth ensure you gently brush them twice a day and make them practice good oral hygiene.
Accidents cannot be predicted and can happen anywhere, anytime. It’s important to understand how to handle a dental emergency, as it can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s permanent tooth. As a rule for all dental emergencies, it’s important to take your child to the dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.
Here are some tips on how to handle common dental emergency:
- For a knocked-out tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your child’s cheek and gum, or in milk. Call / take him to a dentist right away.
- For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down.
- If your child bites his tongue or lip, clean the area gently and apply a cold compress.
- For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth.
- For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.
Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects. It may help them relax or make them feel safe or happy. Most children stop sucking by age 4. If your child continues to thumb suck that after the permanent teeth have come in, it can cause problems with tooth alignment and your child’s bite. The frequency, duration and intensity of a habit will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. If your child’s sucking habits concern you, then you should consult your dentist.
Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crowded, crooked or out of alignment, or the jaws don’t meet properly. This may become particularly noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. If not treated early, a bad bite can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean where teeth are crooked or crowded, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.
Bad bites can also lead to:
- Affect proper development of the jaws.
- Make the protruding teeth at risk for chips and fractures.
- Affect eating and speaking.
- Make some teeth more likely to wear abnormally or faster than those that are properly aligned.
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