When it comes to building a dental health foundation, there’s no better time than your kid’s childhood days. It’s here that the necessary habits are formed and kept. Aside from a milestone time, however, it also has its own set of unique oral issues. How then do you balance the two when it comes to oral health for babies and kids?
For one, you take note of what these oral issues are. Because your kids’ teeth are at that development stage, most of these matters relate to their growth. And if left untreated, these ailments can also impact how their permanent teeth mature.
What, then, can you do to tend to the oral health of your babies and kids? Here are some key things you might want to consider:
When they are babies, your children have virtually no cavity-causing bacteria in their mouths. However, you might transmit them to your kids if you’re not careful.
According to a report by the NBC News, parents may risk spreading Streptococcus mutans to their babies via saliva. Especially if they have active tooth decay. If you clean your baby’s pacifier with your mouth or share utensils with your kids, you might have transferred some to your child’s mouth.
This transmission becomes particularly problematic once your baby’s teeth come in. Because baby teeth have much less enamel than permanent teeth do, they become more vulnerable to these bacterial attacks. These attacks may even produce early-onset caries, which can lead to a slew of future complications.
But these problems aren’t inevitable. You can combat this with the right preventive measures:
- Don’t share oral implements with your kid. While parent to child saliva transfer is unavoidable, there are ways to delay that spread of germs. As much as possible, keep your child’s utensils separate from yours. If you do need to clean them, use water, not your mouth. And if you can avoid kissing your kid on the mouth, limit that as much as possible.
- Have your child’s teeth checked once their first teeth erupt. Your child’s pediatric dentist can pinpoint the early signs of decay. To mitigate your child’s risk of developing caries, then, that initial dental check-up is a crucial stage.
- Have your teeth thoroughly cleaned. If you’re at risk of substantial dental decay yourself, fixing your dental health lowers your child’s risk as well. For mothers, this prevention might mean getting your teeth cleaned during the second and third trimester.
Potential malocclusion (bad bite)
Malocclusion or misaligned teeth can stem from different causes. In children, this problem can arise from bad habits or an early loss of baby teeth. If not remedied early, your child could develop complications that make it hard to maintain their oral health or do daily tasks properly.
But as with bacterial transmission, there are ways to stop malocclusion in its tracks:
- Take your child to the dentist for any bad habits that could affect their oral development. Thumb-sucking or extended pacifier use after age four is usually the main culprits in this. Mouth-breathing is also a potential cause.
- Use space maintainers for prematurely lost baby teeth. Malocclusion can sometimes occur in the case of lost baby teeth. When a milk tooth or teeth are lost before they should, permanent teeth may crowd the area and cause misalignments. In this case, your child’s pediatric dentist may prescribe a space maintainer to prevent this.