Teeth development in children starts when they are in the womb. The gums start to take shape and develop along with other organs while in the womb. Usually the first teeth erupts when the child is around 6 months. Primary teeth fall off and then they give way to permanent teeth. As the child reaches the teenage the complete set of teeth would be developed.
Proper care is required at every stage of teeth development. Along with the teeth the gums, the soft tissues of the mouth and the general lifestyle of a child all need to be taken care of. All this will ensure proper development and care of teeth in children.
Initial teething process
When children grow they have the habit of putting almost everything in their mouth. They start to chew or suck things to soothe their gums. Irritation is felt in the jaws when teeth start to erupt. Usually the front teeth in the lower jaw are the first to erupt. When they are teething some children will have excessive drooling from the mouth, diarrhoea and they get highly irritable.
Children are unable to convey what they feel and that is the reason for the irritation. It is important to check if the child has any other disease. Other diseases can also bring almost similar symptoms in the child. One of the easiest and calming techniques which parents can do is massaging the gums. Gentle massaging can be done with a clean soft cloth. Chilled objects like teething rings can also be given to them to chew on. Irritation in the gums can be reduced using these tools. Specialised care from dentists is essential if the child is in pain.
Teeth development is also affected by the foods that are consumed. When babies are growing their food is mostly milk, juices, soft foods. The food is generally sweet in nature. If not cleaned properly after each meal time, it can affect the health of the primary teeth that have erupted and the gums. Sugar will stick on to the teeth and gums and bring on bacterial action.
Most children will sleep while they are drinking milk or juice, this should be avoided. Brushing teeth before sleeping should be developed as a habit. This should be started as an everyday routine. For younger kids, parents can help them with brushing. When they are able to learn, flossing should also be taught. Both these habits will help in developing good oral health. Consulting with dentists should be started early for proper expert care.
Primary teeth development
As the child grows, primary teeth start to erupt and later they start to fall out and give way to adult permanent teeth. Most children are nervous when their teeth start to shake. They get worried when they see blood when the teeth shake. It is important to teach them that losing teeth is a natural process. Many children calm down when they understand the actual process. Answering their doubts will help to go through this stage easily.
Food habits change when a child grows, they help in the overall development of a child and also play an important role in the development of teeth. Why good and healthy food is important for development is something all kids must know. Knowing the type of foods to avoid or consume less is also important. Junk food is something all children like – they should be taught why that is not beneficial to health. Equipping children to make good decisions is important.
Along with food, personal hygiene is also important. Daily brushing and flossing are important. Tooth decay is commonly seen among children because they do not give much importance to brushing twice daily. After each meal if the mouth is not cleaned, then food debris sticks to the teeth. Bacteria act on these food particles and bring on tooth decay. Infection can cause tooth decay and also bring inflammation in the gums.
Protecting teeth when children engage in contact games and sports is also important. Accidents during sports are common, children should wear mouth guards to protect teeth. Dentists can provide customised mouth guards for use. It is better suited than the general mouth guards that are available in the shops. Parents and coached can motivate children to use mouth guards when they are playing games. Regular follow up care should be done to ensure the proper fit of the mouth guards.
Importance of dental care
Dental consultations to promote a child’s oral development is essential. When they grow, there would be issues and concerns of teeth growing crookedly, or the issue of having ‘too many’ teeth, overcrowding of teeth, pain in gums, or bleeding in the mouth. All these require dental therapy. Wearing braces will help if there is the issue of overcrowding of teeth or teeth jutting out. Braces are worn for a few years and they are adjusted till the teeth come to their designated position. Similarly, different dental concerns will require specialised dental care to overcome the issue.
Studies have shown that children as young as 9 years show signs of tooth decay. This clearly indicates a lack of personal hygiene, if there are no major health diseases. Another issue that reflects a lack of personal hygiene is tartar growth in the teeth. Irregular brushing and cleaning habits, consuming too much sugary food can all lead to plaque deposits. Using the correct kind of toothpastes with fluorides are ideal to improve a child’s oral health. Expert advice can be obtained from dentists to ensure proper dental health in children. Making dental consultations regular, giving information to children about dentists and the guidance they can give should be shared with children. This will reduce their anxiety when visiting dentists and help them in seeking proper dental care.