Myths regarding child dental care

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Written by Dr Amrita Jain

September 1, 2021

As parents, we understand all that our child needs and wants. We take utmost care of providing our children with the best of everything. Right from taking care of their food needs to their health needs. Dental health is one that most parents fail to prioritize. Like you choose different products for your child, let it be the skin products or the hair products similarly every child has different dental needs. This may vary on your child’s age as well.

Understanding child dental care is very important as children are busy growing up. As parents think about it as protecting your child’s future dental health. Don’t let your children go through the same dental problems as you did. Because dental problems are very much preventable right from childhood, taking care of their teeth now will help them in later stages of their life.

Understanding child dental care

You’re not doing a very great job just by buying a toothbrush and toothpaste for your children. That’s just not enough. Understanding child dental care is about taking care of their eating habits, frequency of eating, type of food consumed throughout the day, brushing twice, supervising them while they brush on their own, checking their mouth every 2 weeks to see if any small black spots or cavities etc. Is necessary. Teaching your kids to brush may be tedious but one thing you need to understand is not letting the myths and your beliefs take a toll on your child’s dental health.

All milk teeth fall and new ones replace them

It’s true that all milk teeth fall, but permanent teeth that replace them do not erupt in the mouth all at once. Hence, neither the child nor parents will understand which teeth are permanent and which teeth are milk teeth. For example, molar milk teeth are not replaced by permanent adult molars. Molar milk teeth are replaced by permanent premolars. But often parents fail to realize and think these are milk teeth and are going to fall. Hence, regular 6 monthly dental checkups will help you know what’s going wrong in your child’s mouth at an early stage before it’s too late.

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Why care when all milk teeth are going to fall anyway

Milk teeth help children to bite and eat their food properly. Milk teeth are very delicate and have thin enamel that protects the teeth. Teeth cavities in children can reach the roots of the teeth and cause infections in their mouth similar to adults. The infection then reaches the permanent tooth inside the bone that is going to erupt in the future. In short, milk teeth infections can harm the permanent tooth as well.
Also, permanent teeth have a fixed age range to erupt in the mouth. Permanent teeth do not erupt as soon as the milk teeth fall off. When milk teeth fall and there’s enough time for permanent teeth to erupt this causes the other teeth in the mouth to shift causing mal-alignment of the teeth.

So yes, though milk teeth are going to eventually fall off and be replaced by adult teeth, it’s very important to keep them healthy and if diseased should get them treated as soon as possible.

Eating sweets don’t matter

Many studies are carried out to study the effect of sweets on teeth. One such study mentions few children were given sweets to eat all at once, and a few were given sweets little by little throughout the day. Who do you think out of the groups would be more prone to cavities? Frequent snacking and eating sweets do have an impact on your teeth causing cavities. So keep a check on what your child is consuming throughout the day.

Punishing children for eating chocolates will work

How much ever you tell, scold, yell, shout, or punish them for eating chocolates it’s never going to work. They are either going to eat them anyways without your notice. It’s better you find a way out. Let your children eat sweets, but in moderation. You can also give them carrots, cucumbers, beetroot, tomatoes after eating sweets as the fibers and water content flush out the sugars in the mouth. You can simply ask them to drink lukewarm hot water after they eat any sweets or simply rinse their mouth after consuming them.

Once a tooth falls its a permanent loss

A sudden fall, punch on the face or any hit on the front teeth can knock out your little one’s tooth. If the tooth falls out along with the root of the tooth it can be saved. All you need to do is without cleaning the tooth make sure you place the tooth in milk and take it to your dentist within 20-30 minutes. Your dentist may be able to place the tooth back into the tooth socket and save your child from a permanent loss.

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My child is too young for any dental treatment

Don’t pass on your dental phobia to your children. A dental problem that needs treatment, needs treatment and there is no other option. Thinking your child is too young for a root canal procedure or a filling, or any treatment for that matter, procedure will just cause more complications for your child. The sooner the better.

My child’s teeth are perfect

Parents often tend to think their child’s teeth are perfect unless they complain of any pain or discomfort. By then it’s too late for their teeth to be treated with minimal treatment procedures. This mindset of thinking ” my child’s teeth are perfect’ can cost your children later.

Also, sometimes there may not be any complaints and just because your child is not complaining of any tooth pain or swellings doesn’t mean your child’s teeth are perfect. Remember, it always starts asymptomatic. Regular dental checkups every 6 months can help diagnose the early-stage cavities and save your child from any dental sufferings and you will also help your child not fall prey to dental phobia.

I never had to take my child to a dentist, he/she never needed one

It’s really good to know your child didn’t have to go through any dental sufferings and you didn’t have to take him to a dentist. But dental problems and sufferings come uncalled. No disease occurs on its own in the first place. Nothing happens automatically in one day. Dental diseases are chronic and take about 4-6 months for dental diseases to start showing any kind of symptoms. For example, a tooth cavity does not start in one day, but 3-4 months depending on various factors. But you reach the dentist only when the pain starts that’s when the infection has reached the nerve.

Our body can heal itself, but teeth once a tooth is diseased it cannot heal on its own. So it’s always better to get your and your child’s dental checkups done every 6 months to reduce the pain and suffering from complicated dental treatment procedures.


Highlights

  • Understanding your child’s dental care is very important just like overall health care.
  • There’s much more to your child’s dental care besides just a toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  • Though milk teeth, are eventually going to fall off they are as important as permanent teeth.
  • Regular 6 monthly dental checkups are a must whether your child has or doesn’t have any dental problems
  • Your dentist can prevent dental issues from happening in the first place and once the onset has started dentist can help stop its progression and reduce its severity.
  • Dental diseases are possible to prevent. Yes prevention is the key.

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Dr. Amrita Jain is a practicing dental surgeon since 4 years. She completed her B.D.S in 2016 and was has been a rank holder throughout her course. She suggests “Holistic dentistry is the best dentistry”. Her treatment line follows a conservative pattern which means saving a tooth is of utmost priority and preventing your teeth from getting decayed rather than curing it with a root canal treatment. She inculcates the same while consulting her patients. Apart from her interest in clinical practice, she has developed interest in research and writing over a period of time. She states “It is my clinical experience that motivates me to write and spread dental awareness”. Her articles are well researched with a combination of technical knowledge and clinical experience.
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