Caring for your childs teeth is important for many reasons. Many baby teeth will be kept until around 12 years of age and are important for eating, speaking and guiding adult teeth into position. Caring for baby teeth will help your child form good habits and will be better equipped to look after their adult teeth as they begin to erupt.
Baby teeth generally begin to erupt from 6 months of age, adult teeth from around 6 years. Lower teeth will generally erupt before upper teeth. Some children will be early, some late, and as a general rule girls are usually ahead of boys.
Brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste is essential and you should not rely on your child to brush his/her teeth on their own. Only a small pea-sized amount of childrens toothpaste should be used. In some cases your dentist may recommend products such as tooth mousse by Recaldent, a dairy based product that has many benefits. Children will mimic parents so setting a good example is important and using rewards and electric toothbrushes can be useful methods of encouraging your child.
The importance of diet should never be underestimated and is obviously important for reasons other than your childs dental health. It is the frequency of sugar rather than the amount that is the key consideration. Sticky starchy foods like chips and biscuits can be just as harmful as the obvious lollies and soft-drinks. Juices may be healthy but are high in sugar and are very acidic. Babies should never be put to bed with a bottle as this significantly increases the risk of decay.
Fissure sealants are a protective coating that are commonly applied to adult teeth as they erupt. While they are no guarantee that a tooth will not decay by covering and sealing the grooves the risk is greatly reduced.
Check-ups are an important way of introducing your child to the dentist and regular visits will mean your child will be more comfortable should treatment be required. Many parents feel that because baby teeth eventually fall out there is no reason to bring their child in- in actual fact this is far from reality and will create more trouble in the future.