Do you think there is no need to take care of your child’s baby teeth as they will eventually fall off? On the contrary, neglecting your little one’s baby teeth can lead to certain dental problems.
By Monali Bordoloi
Three-year-old Surbhi Goel loves to drink fruit juices. Months ago, she showed her mother one dull white line over her two front teeth. Her mother dismissed it thinking baby teeth will eventually fall out and replaced. Of late, Surbhi has difficulty in chewing food, then slowly, she started developing pain in her two front teeth. Now, her front teeth are all broken and blackish. A visit to the dentist confirmed that she has tooth decay.
Like Surbhi, many toddlers and preschoolers suffer from tooth decay in their baby tooth due to too much of sugary food.
Some parents ignore primary tooth decay in their children thinking these teeth anyway will shed off in a few years? However, Dr Priyanka Goyat of Rejove Clinique, New Delhi, says, “It is of utmost importance that we take care of primary or baby teeth of our children. Good care of primary teeth will lead to healthier gums and better permanent teeth in future. These baby teeth also help in your child’s ability to speak.”
The thinner and softer enamel in baby’s teeth also makes them more at risk for dental infection. The good news is that the decay is preventable.
When milk, fruit juice or formula food or any other sugar-heavy food stick to your child’s teeth for a long time, bacteria in the mouth feed on that sugar and produce acids which in turn attack the teeth.
Generally, the upper front two teeth are affected by the decay. However, sometimes, other teeth may also be affected.
The tooth decay develops over time. Some of the first signs of the decay are:
• Do not give sugary food or drink before bedtime. During daytime, saliva washes away the sugar from the mouth, but during the night, the flow of saliva decreases. So the sugar from the food or drinks stays in the mouth.
• If you are giving any sugar-laden drink or sweets before bed, make sure that your child brushes his teeth. For infants and toddlers, you can give plain water to rinse the mouth.
Encourage your child to eat the following food, apart from being nutritious, these foods are known to be good for dental health.
Even if you want to do it, it's not possible to get rid of all the bacteria that cause tooth decay in your child. However, you can keep those bacteria in control. With proper dental care, you can even repair the wear and tear of your child’s teeth.
Dr Priyanka Goyat adds, “Treatment for advanced tooth decay are same for both children and adults. Most of these treatments are painless. Type and length of the treatment depend on the severity of the decay. Most of the tooth decay in children can be treated by a procedure known as restorative filling. In some severe cases of tooth decay when the infection reaches the nerve, we recommend root canal treatment. These treatments may require putting crowns over the infected tooth. It only adds to the beautiful smile of your child.”
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