Healthy teeth from day one
Baby is here
Did you know that a new-born baby’s mouth is sterile, with no bacteria? Kissing a baby near the mouth can transfer bacteria to it. There are people who will casually kiss our baby whom we would never dream of letting kiss us! If we want to kiss our baby then we should take more care of our own oral hygiene.
When baby teeth emerge, the first thing to appear on the gums is a slight bump. The skin where the tooth is coming in will be swollen, tense and tender. Sometimes there will also be a small blue bruise. The baby will drool, bite and refuse to eat. He will be restless, irritable and prone to crying. This is a good time to give him that chilled teether from the refrigerator.
While teething you should not give a baby excessively warm food, nor sweet, strong-tasting drinks. If he refuses milk give him lukewarm or cold tea. If he is restless and crying, hold him so he can feel you close.
Teething usually begins around the age of six months. First the lower incisors come in, and then the upper. After 12 months come the upper and lower first molars, between 16 and 18 months the canines and finally, between 24 and 36 months, the second molars. By her second birthday the child should have all of her milk teeth.
Around the age of 6 is when the first permanent teeth erupt – the first molars.
Let your child watch you while you are brushing your teeth to provoke her curiosity and interest. Do not leave your child alone while she is brushing, watch her and correct any mistakes.
If you do not check your child’s mouth regularly and do not notice a new tooth has emerged, the molars could go unbrushed.
Children do not have sufficiently developed motor skills to brush their teeth by themselves. Early on they will mostly just play with and chew the toothbrush, and children’s teeth should be brushed by an adult.
After the age of two the child’s motor abilities should be developed enough to clean the biting surface of the teeth using horizontal motions.
Gentle, circular strokes should then be made by the parents. Help with brushing is discontinued between the ages of 6 and 10, depending on how well the child is able to clean her teeth – both thoroughly and by herself.
Babies feel no need for sugar until they try it. Children can easily develop a sugar habit.
The greatest threat to milk teeth is packaged food with high sugar content. Sugar becomes very harmful after being in contact with milk teeth for ten minutes. White spots appear on the teeth at the gum line and then darken and the enamel begins to crumble. After cleaning the deposits from the child’s teeth she should only be put to bed with unsweetened drinks, if any.
If children are accustomed only to unsweetened drinks from birth and they are given only foods with no added sugar, they will have better chances of having healthy teeth.
Sugar ferments and produces acids. The pH of the saliva drops (it becomes more acid) and attacks the enamel. Unfortunately, parents are giving their children more and more sweet drinks, and as a result children’s teeth are being exposed long-term to the harmful effects of acid and sugar.