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​Your child should have a full set of baby teeth by the time he turns three. These teeth are just as important to your child's development and oral health so it is vital to take good care of these teeth, just as you would for adult teeth.

Continue to care for these baby teeth by making sure that your child's teeth are brushed twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste containing 1,000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride.

Your little one will not be able to brush his own teeth properly, so mummy and daddy should still brush his teeth until he develops the dexterity to do so on his own—around the age of six. Don't forget to help your children floss as well!

Despite your best efforts to care for your child's teeth by practising good oral hygiene, it is not uncommon to run into some bumps along the way. Here are some common dental issues that you might come across.

Related: Introducing Your Pre-schoolers to Better Oral Care

Gingivitis

Gingivitis, or more commonly known simply as gum disease, is the inflammation of the gums caused by poor oral hygiene and plaque accumulation. If you notice that your kid's gums look a bit swollen, red or have been bleeding, that's a sign of gum disease.

Prevent this by fostering good dental habits in your child from a young age. Bring him to the dentist for regular checkups, and remember to brush his teeth at least twice a day, especially if he lacks the dexterity to do so properly himself.

Related: 6 Tips to Make Brushing Teeth Fun for Kids!

Tooth Decay

Like gingivitis, tooth decay can be prevented with good dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. Diet also plays a key role, so avoid giving your child sugary treats or drinks, such as sodas and fruit juices frequently.


Stick to water as much as possible, and offer your child "tooth-friendly" snacks such as apples, cheese cubes, nuts and vegetable sticks.

Related: Help Your Child Smile for Life

Early Tooth Loss

Most children begin to have their baby teeth gradually replaced by adult teeth from the ages of five or six. But sometimes, tooth decay can cause the premature loss of your kid's baby teeth.

An accident such as a fall can also knock out or knock loose one of your child's baby tooth. Bring him to the dentist for advice if this happens. Do not try to insert a knocked-out baby tooth back in the socket—you might damage the permanent tooth sitting under the gum.

What about permanent teeth?

While your child probably hasn't had his permanent teeth come out yet, it's never too early to prepare for accidents! Here's what you can do if an adult tooth falls out.

First, stay calm and comfort your child! Next, hold the tooth by the crown—not the root—and rinse it with milk to remove dirt. Do not scrub the root of the tooth!


Gently place the tooth into a cup of fresh milk or back into the socket and get your child to hold the tooth in place by biting on a handkerchief. Avoid wrapping the tooth up in tissue paper as this might dry the cells on the root of the tooth, which are important for the survival of the tooth. Bring your child to the dentist immediately.

Related: Help Your Child Smile for Life

Bruised Tooth

Bumps and falls can cause trauma to your little one's tooth. When this happens, take your child to the dentist so that you can be advised on the severity of the accident and its consequences to your child's tooth.

Related: Prevent Falls and Keep Your Child Injury-Free

Thumb Sucking

Kids sucking on a pacifier or their thumbs is a pretty common sight. Prolonged thumb sucking may result in misalignment of baby teeth. Depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of your child's habit, his teeth can be pushed out of alignment, causing them to protrude and thereby creating an overbite.

Misaligned bites may:

  • Interfere with proper chewing.
  • Make your child feel self-conscious about his appearance and affect self-esteem.

Encourage your child to stop this practice as early as possible—the earlier he breaks the habit, the higher the chances that his misaligned milk teeth will be corrected. Once the habit causes misalignment to permanent teeth, your child will need an appliance such as braces to correct his teeth alignment. So mummy and daddy should try to help the little one break the habit before his adult teeth emerge! The longer the habit stays, the harder it is to break.

Fortunately, most children stop this habit on their own. If your child hasn't grown out of it yet, offer lots of encouragement and plenty of positive reinforcement to get him to stop.

Do not scold or punish your child as thumb sucking is a security mechanism that reduces stress and anxiety levels in a child. By scolding them or making them feel bad or guilty, you might actually be driving them to do it even more.

Some people have tried applying bad-tasting nail polish to the thumbnail or taping the thumb with layers of adhesive plaster to deter thumb-sucking.

Related: Boosting Your Child's Mental Wellbeing

Lip Sucking

Have you ever used your upper teeth to bite down gently on your lower lip when you felt nervous? That's lip sucking. It involves repeatedly holding the lower lip beneath the upper front teeth. Lip sucking will lead to the same problems that thumb sucking does, and the best way to stop this habit is also the same for thumb sucking: plenty of encouragement and positive reinforcement.

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References

  1. Dental Advice for Pre-School Children. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.dhsv.org.au/dental-advice/general-dental-advice/preschool-children
  2. Oral Health for Children 3-12. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.colgateprofessional.com.au/education/patient-education/topics/life-stages-health/oral-health-for-children-3-12
  3. Jenny Green. My Child Has A Knocked Out Tooth: What Should I Do?. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/dental-emergencies-and-sports-safety/my-child-has-a-knocked-out-tooth-what-should-i-do-0314
  4. Michael Friedman, DDS. (2018, January 15). Oral Health Problems in Children. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/oral-health-problems-children#3
  5. Michael Friedman, DDS. (2017, January 14). Dental Health with Crooked Teeth and Misaligned Bites. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/crooked-teeth-misaligned-bites#1
  6. Top 5 Common Dental Issues for Kids. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.cltpediatricdentistry.com/2016/06/top-5-common-dental-issues-for-kids/
  7. Jane Shaw. (2015, June). What Should I Do If My Toddler Chips a Tooth or Knocks One Loose?. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.babycentre.co.uk/x569527/what-should-i-do-if-my-child-knocks-out-a-tooth
  8. Jenny Green. Toddlers and Bleeding Gums: What Should You Do?. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/childrens-oral-care/toddlers-and-bleeding-gums-what-should-you-do-0414