A smile from my little son can turn even the worst moment the best. I hope none will disagree to that point of falling in love with any little one’s lovely million dollar smile.(I love that rabbit tooth protruding). I had been to my dentist yesterday and I had a chance to know about pediatric dentistry in detail from him and his clinic. I thought I shall put on all that I knew from him,his pamphlets,his references(I have translated them below) and books.
When does teething actually begin?
Teething actually begins even when baby is still in the womb and whitening of gums followed by real teething can commence as early as 3 months or as late as 1 year.Teeth actually begins to sprout one at a time beginning with the bottom two middle ones,followed by top two and then the sides. At around 2 or 3 years baby will have a complete set of 20 teeth(Milk teeth) and they shouldn’t begin to fall till 6 years until the permanent teeth begin to grow.The falling of milk teeth and growth of the permanent teeth happens between 6 years to 12 years.By 12 or 13 years most of the permanent teeth would have well grown.
- Unusual irritability
- Refusal of food
- Lack of sleep
- Chewing/Trying to bite
How to ease the teething pain?
- Use a hard teething ring and let baby chew on
- Use a clean cold cloth and rub gently on the gums
- If your baby is elder you can give home made unsalted crackers(My mother used to make murukku/soup sticks with rice & urad dhal flour and give him to gnaw).But be careful about choking.
- Kindly avoid any medicines/painkillers without a pediatrician’s prescription.(These medications might lead to serious throat problems,Reye’s syndrome,stomach irritation and several other complications).
When is it necessary to clean my baby’s teeth?
It is mandatory to clean your baby’s mouth(tongue and gums) from first day.
How can I clean my baby’s teeth?
From day one your baby’s mouth(tongue and gums) should be cleaned with your clean finger or a soft clean cloth. This helps in avoiding thrush at early stages. Gently rub the gums and tongue with the cloth .When the first tooth begins to come,you can make a regular habit of brushing teeth twice a day.Begin with your fingers as brush and slowly start with a specialized baby friendly silicon finger brush. Brush gently on all sides of the mouth. Brushing twice a day is a must for every baby with zero plus tooth/teeth. It is not mandatory to use a tooth paste until the baby learns to spit/gargle. Using a tooth paste too early might end up in unwanted fluoride intake.
When should I first meet a pediatric dentist?
Do not delay your first dental visit beyond your little one’s second birthday. From then make it a mandate to visit once in 6 months.
What practices have to be avoided to preserve good health of my LO’s teeth?
- Nursing bottle Caries is the most common pediatric dental problem which arises in babies.This is mainly due the habit of sleeping along with feeding bottle in hand.This leads to very early cavities.Avoid sending your babies with feeding bottles/sippers/milk/juice to bed. If milk is given at bedtime,prefer to make it little early and brush before bedtime/clean the mouth before bedtime.
- Secondly lack of nutrition might damage the health of teeth.Hence be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your baby’s diet from 180 th day.
- Thirdly the habit of frequent consumption of foods like chocolates,sugary items,chips,sweets,baked foods result in cavities in milk tooth.Hence fix a regular schedule for eating habits rather than making baby munch all through the day.The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends 4 to 6 ounces(.12 litres) of juice a day for 1 year to 6 years
- And finally habits like sucking the thumb,biting the lips,breathing via mouth might lead to misappropriate teeth growth.
Happy Motherhood!Wish your baby a healthy and happy life ahead.
My sincere thanks to my dentist and pediatrician for his patience to clarify my doubts.
Please visit my food blog for healthy recipes of home made baby food at www.kitchenkathukutty.wordpress.com
Do read my other write ups on parenting and baby care :
The images have been randomly chosen from the web for mere representation (unless the blog id is mentioned in the image)