Today, Dental professionals now work collaborately with Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Orthodontists, chiropractors, nutritionists, myofunctional therapists and GP’s to diagnose and treat a variety of health conditions which may show signs in the mouth. However, our primary role is still kids’ teeth of course. Those little tic tacs that start to pop through babies’ mouths at about 6 months are pretty important and they play a role in setting kids whole face up for health development. Primary teeth not only aid in proper speech, articulation, eating and swallowing patterns but they also set the foundations for a healthy adult mouth by holding the space for their permanent successors which is 10-12 years old for the back molars!
If your child does get a cavity, there are many options for treatment from arresting or halting decay with silver fluoride treatment, covering the tooth with a stainless steel crown or a filling. Primary teeth are more prone to decay for a variety of reasons, the enamel is softer and their pulps or nerves are bigger so it doesn’t take long for a little cavity to turn into an infected tooth. If a baby tooth is lost by extraction due to infection too early, it can often lead to loss of space for the permanent teeth or other orthodontic issues later on. The best treatment is early treatment and prevention!
Caries (or decay) prevention is the best tool to give children a healthy, happy mouth. This means good home care and a good diet, free of sugars and high carbohydrates. Good home habits include brushing morning and night with a small soft toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and trying to floss any teeth touching together a few times per week with floss or flossettes. Looking after kids’ teeth doesn’t have to be boring. With novelty toothbrushes or smart phone apps to help kids and parents brushing time is much more fun.
Children rely on their parents to help with proper oral hygiene and removing plaque from teeth from an early age and even though most kids beg for independence.
Children don’t develop adequate dexterity in their wrist to do a great job brushing until they are around 8-9 years old, so it is important parents persist to help or supervise at brushing time.
When it comes to toothbrushes, all the research proves that electric toothbrushes are far superior to manual ones. In my experience however, I find electric toothbrushes sometimes make kids a little lazy at brushing time so try alternating with a manual brush so kids can still practice the circular motion required. I usually recommend using an electric brush at night time for 2 minutes and a manual one in the morning when kids are a little more time poor. The night time brush is the most important as when kids go to bed, and saliva flow drops is when the plaque monsters come out to play!
If you are curious to see how well your kids are brushing during their check up at Absolutely Dental we can disclose their teeth with magic plaque paint to show them where all the plaque monsters are hiding! Our magic plaque paint even tells us how long the plaque monsters have been there and it’s a super fun way for kids to actually see where they been missing or how well they have been brushing before their check up.