Take care of your baby's teeth

Teething in a Baby
babys teeth

Most mothers are very conscious of teething in their young babies. They keep looking for it and have may wrong notions about its relationship with the baby’ growth.

A child’s first tooth usually appears when he is about 6 months old but this varies 5 to 9 months of age. By the age of 1 year most children have 6 to 8 teeth.
Occasionally a normal 1 year old baby may have only 2 to 3 teeth and yet have no growth problem. The first tooth to appear is usually the lower central incisor (in the middle of the lower jaw) followed by upper lateral incisor (the side one of the upper jaw). The child has his whole set of temporary teeth, 20 in number, by the age of 2 ½ to 3years. Shedding of temporary teeth and their replacement by permanent ones begins around 6 years of age.

When a baby is teething the gum over erupting tooth may be swollen, red and sore. He may have excessive saliva formation and dribbling of saliva from the mouth, general irritability and a tendency to take his fingers and other objects into his mouth and to bite them.

It must however, be clearly understood that teething does not by itself cause significant diarrhea, vomiting, cough or significant fever. Occurrence of any of these symptoms in your baby must be presumed to be due to teething and ignores. He must be shown to a doctor and treated for the underlying disease (which is usually an infection).

Care of Teeth
It is important to take care of your child’s teeth and gums right from the start. Restricting the intake of sugar is the most important step besides regular cleaning of teeth use of fluoride toothpaste and periodic visits to dentist.

The most crucial factor in causing tooth decay is eating sugary food. Sugar gets broken down by bacteria on the tooth surface to form acid which attacks and damages the tooth enamel. The oftener sweet things are eaten, the worse it is for teeth. Acid is thus produced over a longer period of time and is more harmful than eating a lot of sugary food at one time. Never give a sweetened dummy to your baby to suck and do not give sweetened drinks in a bottle or feeder.

Older children must also avoid frequently eating and drinking sweet things. Avoid keeping biscuits, cakes, sweets, chocolates and sweet drinks in the house. Instead, let children have fruit, sandwiches, savory snack between meals. Keep sweet things just for the special treats. If used, let them be consumed be quickly at one go rather than be spread over a long period. It is desirable to clean children’s teeth should be started at an early age. A soft to medium soft nylon brush with a small head should be used. Every surface of every tooth should be well brushed on both sides as well as the chewing surface. Help your child with brushing his teeth, at least until he is about 8 years old. Fluoride toothpaste helps to prevent tooth decay.

Regular visits to dentist, about every six months or so, are important. He can treat tooth decay if it appears at an early stage before it causes much damage.

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