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Early loss of baby teeth can cause loss of space for the eruption of permanent teeth. Primary teeth are not only necessary for normal chewing, speech, and appearance, but they also serve as space maintainers for the permanent teeth. It is extremely important to take care of your child’s teeth. Here are a few topics and interesting facts that will help you understand dentistry in children a bit better.
It comes down to acid attached to the teeth. When placing the feeding bottle in your baby’s mouth, the teat is placed against the palate and the tongue covers the lower front teeth. This causes the liquid to pool around the upper teeth, especially the back surface of the front teeth. If the bottle contains only milk, milk formula or water without sugar, and is given at feeding times only and stops at the age of one year, this should not be a problem. However, if the bottle contains fruit juice or any type of cold drink, these acids attack the enamel. Baby bottle decay has a specific pattern: the back of the upper front teeth are seriously affected and also the upper first baby molars.
Are Sippy cups safe for teeth?
Even though a Sippy cup is not a bottle, it can still cause severe damage if it contains anything other than plain milk or water without sugar. It is the frequency of drinking which causes the problem as the child sips at frequent intervals bathing the teeth in these harmful liquids. A better idea is to use a non-spill cup with a straw.
Why do we need fissure sealants? The surfaces of your teeth have pits and fissures which extend deep into the tooth. It developed when our teeth formed in our jaws. These pits and fissures form stagnation areas for dental plaque. Plaque acids produced, start the decay process leading to a cavity or a “hole”.
What is a sealant? A dental material which flows into the fissures and sets hard. It acts as a barrier and protects the teeth from the plaque and acid that can lead to cavities. Fissure sealants are only applied to teeth that shows no decay.
The role of saliva:
Saliva is Nature’s automatic Cavity Fighter.
Fun Fact – Saliva contains buffers, mainly bicarbonate, which neutralizes plaque acids. The bicarbonate mops up any acid produced by the “bad bacteria” from the breakdown of sugars.
When we chew, we trigger the release of extra saliva, known as stimulated saliva. Not only is the quantity of stimulated saliva different from resting saliva, but it also has 50 times the concentration of bicarbonate!
Ways to stimulate your saliva:
- Chew sugar-free gum (preferably with xylitol)
- Chew fibrous food (e.g. Celery, cucumbers, carrots)
- Chew small pieces of cheese (preferably cheddar)
- GC Tooth Mousse
- Increase hydration – drink plain water
- Eliminate caffeine-containing drinks
Brushing alone does not prevent tooth decay. Therefore we must also address the diet.
Most people love some sweet treats, especially kids, so let’s not take it away, let’s try to work around it.
Studies have shown that when sugar was kept to main meals only it caused little further damage, however, when sugar were given in between-meal snacks, it will lead to severe decay.
Mealtimes are “stress” times for tooth enamel both from plaque acids and dietary acids. If sugars are given at mealtimes only, our mouths can cope.
Try to incorporate the following rules:
- Any food containing sugar/acid must be eaten with a main meal.
- Any between meal snack must be sugar-, and acid-free. Only water or plain milk for drinks.
- Sweets are treats and cause least damage to teeth if they are consumed with the main meal of the day. They can be given at the end of the meal so the child is already full and shouldn’t consume too many.
- Try to end each main meal or snack with a small piece of cheese or try to chew Xylitol chewing gum for 20min.
- Brush after every main meal with a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
The reason most people do not have a clue about brushing and flossing is because they cannot see the enemy, and is especially true for children. If plaque were bright purple, people would have excellent oral hygiene but, because it is tooth coloured, most of it gets left behind.
Plaque can be made visible with disclosing tablets or Elgydium teaching toothpaste. This is an excellent teaching tool to get children in the habit of brushing and flossing.
You can start cleaning your baby’s mouth from the very beginning by using a moist piece of gauze after each feed. The gauze is held between the finger and thumb and squeezed and rolled over the gum pads. The same technique can be used when the teeth start to come into the mouth, a smear of a child’s fluoride toothpaste can be applied to the gauze. Alternatively, a finger brush or regular brush can be used.
Try to incorporate the “going-down to bed routine”
- Brush for at least 2-3 minutes with a dry toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste. Brush the gums and the teeth!
- Floss with dental tape. Ensure plaque is removed below the gum in between all the teeth.
- Spit out (not rinse) any excess.
- Apply a smear of tooth mouse or MI paste around the mouth.
- Do not eat or drink thereafter. Only water can safely be given during the night.
For more information, please schedule an appointment with one of our dentists at Mathee Dental Studio
Tel: 021 851 0461
WhatsApp: 079 437 1186