Parents are very protective of their children, and it comes to no surprise that they prioritize the oral health of their babies.
There are an average of 20 baby teeth or “milk teeth” – all of which are expected to have already erupted by the time your child turns three. The eruption of milk teeth is called “teething”. You may notice that your child’s teeth will erupt in pairs and the lower front teeth will usually come out first, followed by the upper front teeth, then the incisors, and finally, the molars. The sequence may vary depending on ancestry.
There are cases wherein the child may feel soreness or irritation on the onset of the teething process, paired with swelling gums and excessive drooling. These, along with other symptoms of fever are expected to be experienced by some children – and do not indicate any onset of fever, to say the least. If you notice your baby chewing on household objects, carefully check his/her teeth for any developments on the erupting teeth. Also make sure that the objects that your baby chews are clean. If he/she is persistent in chewing filthy or hazardous objects, it is best that he/she be put on a crib first and be given a soft, clean cloth for chewing. Being selective of the objects that your child is chewing is a sign of improving intuition and recognition on your child’s part.
Baby teeth last only for a few years, but dentists have proposed a connection between maltreated baby teeth and crooked permanent teeth. Studies show that premature loss of baby teeth may lead to some malocclusions on the erupting permanent teeth. Baby teeth will lose their grip on the alveolar bone when the child turns 7 to 10 years old. Some baby teeth may come off earlier than that, but parents must make sure that these teeth loosen naturally, and not extracted because of tooth decay.
The molars, on the other hand, are a slightly different case. In some cases, back molars don’t come off until the age of 10 to 12, so it’s more of a priority to care for the back teeth, since they won’t be leaving anytime soon.
At the time your child’s milk teeth become visible, it is advisable to start brushing them with fluoride-free toothpaste and a specialized toothbrush for babies (which have soft bristles). There also a commercial product called a “teething ring” – which could baby could safely chew on. Teething will also yield irate responses from your child. Ask your pediatrician if you can administer ibuprofen capsules or mini-tablets to relieve their pain.
At the time your baby turns two years old, you can start brushing their teeth with regular, fluoride toothpaste, and start teaching them to brush their teeth once they turn four.
If problems continue to persist, it is advisable to bring your baby to the dentist, especially you notice them swelling up or looking puffy. It is much more advisable though, to take them to a dentist who specializes on children-a periodontist.