Dental care for infants should start at pregnancy. This descends from the fact that baby teeth form before birth. To ensure these baby teeth develop healthily, it is therefore vital that pregnant mothers watch their diet very closely. They should eat balanced diets accompanied by adequate minerals and vitamins. Apart from taking nutritious diets, pregnant mothers should also undergo complete dental examinations. In case any diseases of the gum or cavities are established, they should be treated.
Even before teeth begin to erupt in babies, mothers are advised to gently clean their babies’ gums with gauze pad or infant washcloth that has been soaked in water. This not only removes food but also stimulates tissue of the gum.
The duration it takes primary teeth to erupt approximates to 6 months. This however might vary in different children. A total of 20 primary teeth are expected to form starting from the age of 6 months to around 3 years. These primary teeth are lost as from the age of about 6-11 years. This is followed by the emergence of the first permanent teeth from the age of 6 years. The last permanent teeth on the other hand form between the age of 12 to 21 years.
A child’s likelihood of experiencing any dental problems in future can be determined by the 6th month of age. This is determined by thorough examination of the mother’s teeth condition and dental history. It is very likely that the mother’s dental condition can help predict a child’s teeth. The baby should also see a dentist by the first birthday. Alternatively, the baby can be taken to a dentist 6 months after the development of the first primary teeth. After this, the baby should visit a dentist after every 6 months.
Babies may also develop dental problems. These may be caused by a variety of factors such as disease or injury. It could also be a developmental problem. If such is encountered the baby should be taken to a pediatric dentist. This should not be taken lightly and a visit to a pediatric dentist or simply a children’s dentist should be made right away.
In other cases, the above mentioned dental problems in children may not be limited to the teeth’s surfaces. If this is the case, it is advisable that the child also sees a pediatrician or children’s doctor or one’s family doctor.
Dentists advise against certain habits to sponsor good oral health of babies. Some of these habits include pacifier and thumb sucking. Babies should be made to stop these habits as soon as possible. Sucking over a long period of time causes a number of problems including crooked teeth, bite problems among others.
As soon as baby’s teeth erupt, they should be brushed gently. This is done using a small toothbrush with very soft bristles. By the age of 3 years, children should start learning proper brushing techniques though close monitoring is advised until the age of 7-8 years.