Having healthy oral health is as vital for children as it is for adults, and it is never too early to establish good dental habits. Getting your infant or toddler to brush their teeth twice daily can be a struggle, but it’s an integral part of your child’s overall well-being.

Twice-daily teeth brushing enables you to notice other issues that may impact your baby’s dental health. Read on to discover what you should watch for and how your dentist can help.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Bacterial acid from the sugar in milk, formula and fruit juices attack your baby’s teeth, so avoid giving your baby a bottle in bed. If your baby needs a bottle to fall asleep, fill it with water.

Gently wipe your baby’s teeth and gums after each feeding to remove plaque and sugar. Contact your dentist if you notice white spots on your baby’s teeth because this may be a sign of a dental cavity.   

Thumb Sucking

Infants and toddlers love to suck their thumbs, fingers and even their toys because it fulfils their sense of curiosity and provides a security mechanism. But if it continues into the preschool years and beyond it can push teeth out of alignment causing an overbite and speech problems. Ask your dentist near Amersham about dental appliances that can deter your child’s thumb sucking once their permanent teeth begin to emerge.  

Tongue Thrusting

Tongue thrusting like thumb sucking causes the front teeth to protrude and can interfere with speech development. A speech pathologist can teach your child how to overcome the habit by strengthening their chewing muscles and learning how to swallow correctly.

Lip Sucking

Lip sucking is another security mechanism that can be difficult for a small child to overcome. It results in an overbite because the lower lip is held beneath the front teeth. Talk to your dentist about positive reinforcement and the possibility of cementing a dental appliance to the roof of their mouth to help break the habit.

Early Tooth Loss

Tooth decay, lack of jaw space and injury can cause premature loss of baby teeth. Other teeth may drift into the gap and cause misalignment when permanent teeth emerge. Crooked teeth are more challenging to clean and can cause issues with chewing and even discomfort in the temporomandibular joint. Your dentist can place a space maintainer to hold the space until the permanent tooth erupts.

Tooth Grinding

During teething, involuntarily grinding is common. It typically subsides once the baby teeth begin to emerge. If your child continues to grind their teeth, your dentist may recommend a mouthguard. Wearing it while they sleep can help prevent enamel erosion and teeth sensitivity.   

Tooth Discolouration Due to Improper Hygiene

To avoid yellowish tints and other discolourations of your baby’s teeth help them brush their pearly whites. Most children dislike brushing their teeth so make it fun! Let them brush your teeth so you can brush theirs, count their teeth or sing silly songs while brushing.  

Bumps, Chips and Other Tooth-Tastrophes

Tooth trauma is a common dental issue in young children. Infants and toddlers can bump a tooth while learning to walk and pre-schoolers and older children can chip a tooth while participating in sports or another activity.

If a baby tooth is knocked out, your dentist will likely recommend a space maintainer. If it is a permanent tooth, contact your dentist for emergency care. Even if it is a minor chip, call your dentist because fractures are difficult to see with the untrained eye. A hard bump can cause swelling or turn a tooth black, so it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Brush to Keep Decay Away

The AAPD recommends that children and adults brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice a day to prevent tooth decay and inhibit gum disease. Until they are about eight years old, children don’t have the motor skills to brush their teeth correctly, so they need your help.

Let them choose their favourite character themed-toothbrush and toothpaste and encourage them to brush their teeth, even if you have already brushed them, so they develop the habit of regular brushing.    

Visit the Dentist Early

Schedule your child’s first dental appointment within six months of their first tooth erupting and no later than their first birthday. Preventative dentistry ensures your child has a lifetime of healthy and beautiful smiles.

Bryan

Bryan

Written by Bryan, from York House Dentists in Chesham & Amersham, the practice maintains and improves smiles for nearly 30 years with a comforting combination of expertise, experience and exceptional standards. For more details feel free to visit www.yorkhousedentists.co.uk