Parents are the front line in protecting their children’s teeth.
As a parent, we have a responsibility to take care of our children. This includes homing and feeding them as well as looking after their safety and well-being.
A recent survey found, however, that many parents lack an understanding of how to look after their children’s teeth. Too many children currently end up in hospital having to have badly decayed teeth extracted. This is totally preventable and saves the child losing their teeth and also often being in significant pain.
The survey found some of the following elements which would have a major impact on a child’s teeth:
Our Wickford and Rayleigh patients will obviously know that our first teeth, or milk teeth as they are sometimes called, will eventually fall out. This process starts in our childhood but it is not unusual to still have a few milk teeth well into our teens, and sometimes later. Just because they will eventually fall out does not mean that they should not be looked after.
In addition to the stress caused by having to have a tooth extracted, losing milk teeth before they are ready to fall out naturally, can also have the following effects.
Crooked second teeth
Milk teeth act as a ‘placeholder’ for when our second teeth come through. If they fall out before our adult teeth are ready to erupt, other teeth are likely to encroach into the space. When our adult teeth do finally erupt, they may find their natural space blocked and come through in a crooked manner. If several teeth are lost in this way, it isn’t hard to see how a child could have a very crooked set of adult teeth.
We use our teeth to make certain sounds. If a child loses their milk teeth early, they may not be able to do this and speech defects can occur. This can hinder a child’s development at this important stage of life.
Bedtime cleaning and snacking
Everyone knows how important it is to clean our teeth last thing at night, and, as we have stated before, parents should supervise their children doing this so that they do it correctly.
One surprising thing that this survey revealed is that a lot of parents do this but then allow their child to have a snack before bedtime after cleaning them. This defeats the entire object of cleaning your teeth last thing at night. However well you clean them, if you allow children to eat, or even drink a glass of milk afterwards, their teeth will be coated with sugar residues all night. The only thing that should pass their lips after cleaning their teeth is water.
If you are unsure about how to look after your children’s teeth and wish to give them the best care possible, bringing them to see our dental hygienist can be very beneficial. They will discuss how to look after them both with you and your children, helping them to grow up with strong healthy teeth.
If you have a child who is over one year old and who has not yet seen a dentist, we are always happy to see them. You can arrange an appointment at the Cygnet Dental Practice by calling our Wickford clinic on 01268 733078.