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HEALTH DENTAL Taking Care of Your Child's First Teeth

Taking Care of Your Child's First Teeth

By: Stephanie Andrew | Jul 12 2010 | 1200 words | 1296 hits

It is a little recognised fact that a child's dental care actually begins in the womb. That's just one of the many reasons to take extra care of your health during pregnancy. Pregnant women should make sure they eat a well balanced diet full of nutritious foods that contain all the vitamins and minerals that their bodies may need during their pregnancy. You should go for a full dental examination when you discover you are pregnant, as any cavities or gum disease will need to be treated as early as possible. Pregnant women in the UK are still entitled to free NHS dental treatment. If you are lucky enough to have a dental insurance plan then it is likely that you have already been advised that a visit to the dental surgery during your pregnancy would be a good idea.

The Child's Developing Teeth

Your child's first teeth usually begin to break through the gums from the age of about 6 months old. The exact age will vary greatly between children, so don't fret if your own child begins to break teeth earlier, or starts later. Every child has twenty "baby", or "milk" teeth; the first teeth which appear between the age of six months and three years old. The baby, or milk, teeth usually are only present up until the age of eleven - a child will normally start losing them at around age six. Your child's molars should come through at around six years old. The last permanent teeth come out anywhere between the age of 12 and 21 years old.

By the time your child is around 8 months of age your dentist should be able to tell if the child will have any dental problems with their new developing set of teeth. It may only be in the short-term, but it is still good to know of any concerns if they should arise. They are not physicians but thanks to their knowledge and expertise in the dental surgery field they are often able to make helpful suggestions. The best reason for taking your child with you when you go to the dentist is familiarisation. You have a better chance of avoiding fear of dentists in your child if you take them with you to your own appointments. Some UK Dental insurance plans provide family cover should you wish to receive private dental treatment.

When Should Your Child's Dental Care Begin?

Parents should make regular six-monthly dental appointments for their kids. By the time your child is one you should be starting proactive dental care. From the appearance of the very first tooth, there is still a lot that parents can do. Naturally you cannot use a toothbrush on a baby's very first teeth, nor can you use adult toothpaste either. The bristles of a toothbrush are far too hard for a small baby's gums, and the fluoride found in adult toothpastes is not good for them. There are many pros and cons relating to fluoride and although the argument on whether or not fluoride should be present in toothpaste will rage on for many years to come, it's a good idea to avoid any toothpaste containing fluoride while your child is so young. Toothpaste is essentially just the lubricant at this stage, and the best thing is to use a soft cloth to simply wipe your baby's teeth and gums. This will be enough to remove the sugars from breast milk, formula or other drinks containing sugars. It's the sugars in the foods that cause tooth decay at such a young age. Simply wipe their teeth and gums after each feed and this will go a long way. Once the child gets to around 2 years old it is far easier for parents to introduce toothpaste's (fluoride free or low fluoride) and there are many products on the market. Your dentist will be happy to advise you when choosing a brush and toothpaste for your child.

Any early dental problems cause by illness, disease or developmental issues should be referred to a specialist pediatric dentist. Certain underlying issues behind dental problems - such as poor circulation, for example - may require additional treatments, which your pediatrician may suggest that you look into.

Helpful Tips

1. Do not Share Eating Utensils - Parents and carers may often share spoons and forks with their children. You may leave saliva on the spoon which may contain tooth decay bacteria. You can help prevent early childhood tooth decay by making sure that your family practices good dental health habits. If you do share a spoon with your baby or test the temperature of the bottled milk by taking a sip from the teat, wipe the teat or wipe your baby's teeth and gums after they have have been fed. There is less chance that you will transfer tooth decay bacteria to your kids if you keep your own teeth and gums healthy.

2. No Bottles at Night - Do not put your infant or small child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or other drink that has sugar in it, because the sugar and acids in these liquids can cause tooth decay. This may often be easier said than done!

3. Help Your Teeth With a Healthy Diet - Your kids will need to eat the right balance of foods in order to avoid tooth decay and develop strong, healthy gums and teeth. These include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Try to avoid too many foods that are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates, such as pastries, white pasta, and white bread. Even seemingly innocent fruits which we all try to get our children to eat more of contain sugars which can be harmful to their teeth, so it's important to strike the right balance.

4. How to Clean the Teeth - You can gently clean around the gums and first teeth with a soft cloth as soon as you see them beginning to break through. Use a very soft toothbrush and water to clean the teeth as more of them come through.

5. Fluoride Is Important For Healthy Teeth - By the time, your baby is 1 year old, begin to use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste while brushing your child's teeth.

6. Flossing Time - You should begin flossing your child's teeth as soon as you notice their teeth beginning to touch each other.

7. On Their Own - Your child can learn how to brush his or her own teeth at about 3 years of age. By the time they are four years of age, children should be brushing their own teeth twice a day - in the morning and before bedtime. Even though they are brushing their teeth on their own, you should still watch them and make sure they are brushing their teeth the right way.

Now is the time to teach your children about the importance of looking after their teeth properly; if they don't learn now it will be much harder for them to understand the importance of dental hygiene in the future. Dencover dental health insurance have dedicated an entire web site to helping you maintain beautiful healthy teeth and offering tips and advice on the best ways that you can insure your smile.

About author:
Stephanie Andrew writes and publishes articles for Sussex base SEO consultants, ePage Solutions, whose clients include Dencover Dental Insurance - providing affordable UK dental insurance for private or NHS treatment.
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