The habits and routines that we incorporate into the daily lives of our children lay many of the foundations that they will maintain during their adult lives. A very important and common example is personal hygiene and, more specifically, tooth care. Therefore, it is essential that from a young age we accustom them to having good oral cleaning habits. But, At what age should children start brushing their teeth? When should we take them to a dentist's office for the first time? How can we know if you have any kind of problem?
In Guiainfantil.com We have spoken with the dentist Conchita Curull, who has given us some very useful advice and has cleared up our main doubts.
Careful teeth are an aesthetic matter, but above all we are talking about an aspect related to health. For this reason, children's dentists agree that, from the moment there are teeth, you have to start cleaning them. The different foods that children eat from a very early age leave remains in their mouths, which must be removed for good oral hygiene.
However, dental cleaning should be tailored to the needs of children based on their age and abilities. We must take into account the following tips:
- In the case of babies whose teeth are beginning to erupt, it is the parents who must perform this cleaning. For this, you can use a brush adapted for babies or a small gauze (to be able to be sterilized) moistened in water. With this small cloth, the incisors should be cleaned, taking care not to harm the little one.
- Once the child has grown up, and is more skillful, we can give him or her a toothbrush so that he or she can wash alone. To do this, we must look for a brush model that corresponds to the size of your mouth.
- Before 1-2 years, it is better to clean children's teeth without toothpaste. Just dipping it in water is enough. We must bear in mind that when children are so young they do not yet have the habit of rinsing and spitting, therefore it could be the case that the child swallows the toothpaste. As the dentist herself explains, this would not be serious for children's health, however, it is better not to swallow the toothpaste, especially if it has fluoride.
- Children learn by imitation, therefore it is convenient for children see us brush our teeth, even that we share that routine with them every day. They will notice the movements that we make and will try to repeat them.
In addition, and as the report 'Technical guidelines for brushing the teeth of boys and girls who attend preschool education' of the Ministry of Health of Chile reiterates, parents should be the example of children, but they should also monitor brushing technique that children learn and correct when something is not done well (movements, intensity, repetitions ...)
Either due to poor dental cleaning or because the teeth are coming out with a poor placement, the little ones can suffer some oral problems that need solution. For this reason, parents must be attentive to the signs that we detail below and that should alert us that something is wrong with our children's teeth.
- If any of the teeth change color
At an early age it is common for children to fall and hit themselves in the mouth, since they do not yet have the ability to support their hands. At first, it is easy to notice that the lip has been split (often bleeding) or that the gums have been hit (which can also bleed or swell). However, sometimes we do not give enough importance to the fact that the tooth has broken.
Sometimes, with the blow, the tooth can die, that is, the nervous vascular package that carries blood and water to the tooth is broken, so it could change color: from gray or yellow until it takes on a matte color.
- Children's teeth are coming out too wide or out of place
Children's baby teeth are often separated and very small. This alerts parents, who are concerned that the permanent teeth will also come out the same. However, it doesn't have to happen that way. In fact, as Conchita Currull explains, nothing happens if the milk teeth come out apart, in fact, it is better, since this way the back teeth will have more space to come out, since they are larger.
- The child complains when food is too cold or too sweet
In this case, we must take the children to the dentist soon as they need a check-up. These aches or pains, which children express in the form of complaints, could be due to cavities. Some of the signs that can alert us to its presence are small dark spots on the teeth or if the food gets stuck because the enamel has been somewhat destroyed.
- When the gums bleed
Gingivitis is a problem that many adults suffer from, but that children can also suffer from. This results in bleeding gums, but also swelling and tooth sensitivity. It must also be treated by the dentist.
Since it is often difficult for parents spot these signs that something is wrong In the mouth of children, it is essential to take the little ones to a check-up with the dentist. Which makes us wonder: at what age should we take children to this doctor?
We tend to think that the dentist is a doctor for adults, to which it is only necessary to go when we have any discomfort. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The sooner we take the little ones to the pediatric dentist, the better, since we will be encouraging them to have a positive view of this doctor.
According to Conchita Curulll to Guiainfantil.comFrom the moment the first teeth begin to emerge, especially in the case of molars, children should have their first contact with the dentist. This means that the little ones would have to go to this consultation for the first time a year or a year and a half. Just as we take the child to the pediatrician for appropriate check-ups, we must get into the habit of taking him to the dentist at least once a year.
In this way, children begin to become familiar with the dentist, and with the tools that he normally uses, which prevents them from having that fear that even many adults maintain over the years. In addition to monitoring the good oral health of children, these first visits to the dentist have the objective that the little ones see these check-ups as something natural, necessary and fun.
And what is the children's first visit to the dentist like? In this first meeting, the dental professional will check which teeth have come out and how they have been placed, how is the shape of the child's jaw, will detect if there are atypical swallowing habits, will see if there is any type of malformation in the palate, the quality of the tooth enamel will be analyzed ... It is a preventive check-up visit to detect how the mouth is and to give some advice on hygiene and eating habits.
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