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Parents, Beware!Parental guide to child oral health care.

Dental problem is one of the major concerns in today’s children. While the baby is taken care of in many aspects parents fail to understand the importance of baby’s oral health. Parents think that baby teeth are less important because they will eventually be replaced. However, baby teeth serve several important functions which effect different aspects of later life like proper speech and spacing and alignment of adult teeth.

It is important for parents to start caring about their infant’s oral health right from their birth. While the baby teeth erupt from the age of 6 months to 3 years, the formation takes place even before birth. At this stage when there are no teeth, a gentle wipe of gum by wet gauze after each breast and bottle feeding keeps gums healthy.

A very common problem when teeth erupt is teething. This is a condition when child becomes irritated due to eruption and try to put everything inside their mouth. Fuzziness, drooling and a slight fever (below 100 F) is common during this stage. Parent can ease their irritated child by rubbing their finger or wet gauge on their child’s gum.

Slowly child develops various oral sucking habits such as finger sucking. This is the time when parents use the pacifiers (chusne). Choose pacifiers which contain holes in the shield as these holes allow saliva to escape instead of getting caught between the pacifier and the baby's lips where it can cause a skin rash. Sucking habits are natural as they help in the development of jaw. However, it should be discontinued before the permanent teeth erupt (around 5-6 years) else it can cause dental abnormalities. For a child who does not stop naturally, it is important for parents to help the child to stop. One common way is by not allowing them to use a pacifier during certain hours of the day and then gradually reducing the number of hours they are allowed to use their pacifier. Never punish a child for using a pacifier or thumb sucking as this might have a contrary effect. Instead give them hugs, toys or something to cuddle as thumb sucking and pacifiers are often related to sense of security in children.

Once the teeth start to erupt, it is important to brush them regularly. Proper brushing technique and regular brushing habit can help to reduce tooth decay in child’s tooth. Parents should act as a role model and guide their child to brush properly. Once the child is big enough not to swallow toothpaste, small pea-sized fluoridated toothpaste should be used. Child should not be allowed to swallow fluoridated toothpaste as it may later cause fluorosis (a condition in which brown spots appear on child's teeth). When grown up, use fluoridated toothpaste twice a day to make child’s tooth stronger and resistant against tooth decay.

Tooth decay is the basic problem of baby teeth. Tooth decay occurs faster in children than in adults. The most common reason of developing decay of baby tooth is due to the bottle feeding habit. The reason for this is frequent exposure of a child tooth to sugary liquid such as milk, juices etc. Often parents let their child sleep without cleaning their teeth even after feeding sweet food and drinks. Parent should always clean their child’s teeth by gentle wipe or by letting them drink plain water.

Sometimes brushing will not be enough to fight against decay. Teeth at back have very deep grooves and pits where bristles do not reach easily and are left unclean. In conditions like this, dentists recommend dental sealants. A dental sealant is a plastic
material that is painted directly into the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the tooth. This acts as a barrier protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Additionally, fluoride supplements make your child’s tooth stronger. If required your dentist can also advise your child for fluoride treatment.

There are a number of things that you can do to reduce your child's risk of tooth decay. Some useful tips include:


  1. take your child to the dentist regularly
  2. put your child to bed with a bottle of water, not milk or juice.
  3. limit sugary or acidic food and drinks in their diet
  4. encourage regular tooth brushing
  5. take advice from your dentist about protective treatments such as fluoride supplements and dental sealants

So, we should remember that, while the baby teeth eventually fall, if not taken care they might cause pain to the child while they are there and might even change their oral health in future. 

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Call (977-1) 4169141

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Heritage Plaza II, Kamaladi, Kathmandu, Nepal.
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What our patients say about the dentist and dental clinic.

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Very informative talk with Doctor during procedures. Highly impressed by the ambience and cordiality of the clinic staff.

- Sameer Singh