Learn about the common dental problems that may affect your little one's smile and what you should do if your baby loses a tooth due to an injury.
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 thoroughly brushed twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, just before bed.
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. Don't forget to help your child 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.
Guide to Oral Care for Your Toothy Toddler
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 check-ups, and remember to brush his teeth at least twice a day, especially if he lacks the dexterity to do so properly on his own.
6 Tips to Make Brushing Teeth Fun for Kids!
Parents’ Guide to Toothbrushing for Children ages 0-2 years old.
Related Video: Parents’ Guide to Toothbrushing and Flossing for Children ages 3-6 years old.
Like gingivitis, tooth decay can be prevented with good dental hygiene. 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.
Help Your Child Smile for Life
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.
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. Do not touch the root—and rinse it briefly in water or milk to remove dirt. Do not scrub the root of the tooth!
Ideally, try to place the tooth back into the tooth socket despite the bleeding. To keep the tooth in place, get your child to bite on a handkerchief by closing his mouth with the handkerchief between the upper and lower front teeth. If the tooth cannot be placed back into the tooth socket, it should be kept moist. Place the tooth into a cup of fresh milk (ideal) or saliva . Avoid wrapping the tooth 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 and the knocked-out tooth to the dentist immediately.
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.
Prevent Falls and Keep Your Child Injury-Free
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 openbite.
Misaligned bites may:
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 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 may be a self-soothing measure which 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 fingernail, taping the thumb with layers of adhesive plaster and the use of thumb-guards to deter thumb-sucking.
Boosting Your Child's Mental Wellbeing
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This article was last reviewed on
Monday, March 7, 2022
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Youth Preventive Dental Service (YPDS) provides oral health screening for pre-schoolers at some childcare centres as part of the Preschool Oral Health Screening and Fluoride Therapy Programme. Parents will be informed of the screening findings and recommended follow-up action through an "Information Sheet for Parents" that is downloadable from HealthHub.
YPDS also provides free basic dental services to Primary and Secondary students through school dental clinics and mobile dental clinics.
Annually, Primary 1, 2, 4 and 6, Secondary 1 and 3, and ITE Year 1 students who are enrolled in the school dental programme will be screened and treated by YPDS. Students in other levels who require dental services may visit the school or mobile dental clinics for free consultation and treatment.
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