In the last 7 years of my practice as a dentist I have often heard of a lot of myths related to oral care in children. I, along with pedodontist Dr. Jooie Joshi have put together the 5 most common ones here:
Oral care begins after teeth erupt
The mouth is an ecosystem!! It needs care right from the beginning. Cleaning your child's gum pads with a clean cloth or a gauze piece after every feed ensures that harmful bacteria do not grow in numbers. It also keeps infections at bay. And Hey! it instills good oral hygiene habits from the start, right?
Child cannot get his first tooth before he starts to sit up/starts walking
Believe it or not, some children have a tooth at birth! Or sometimes it appears during the first month. These are common and known as natal and neonatal teeth. They may be your child's milk tooth or sometimes just an extra! Removal of the tooth or grinding it smooth helps relieve most complaints depending upon the case.
Teething causes diarrhoea and fever
Irritable child? Yes, you might witness a new tooth debut in the mouth soon. But the diarrhoea and fever is not because of the poor tooth. Its because the child tries to soothe the constant pain of the new emerging tooth by planting whatever comes in sight right into the mouth. Chewing on random object and even fingers provides relief from the pain and this transfer if germs is what leads to diarrhoea and sometimes fever.
Tooth brushing has to be done after all teeth/ chewing teeth appear in the mouth
NOPE. Tooth brushing should be started as soon as the first tooth appears in the oral cavity. As your child grows older, the type of toothbrush changes. The first teeth can be cleaned with a finger silicone brush which is soft enough to not hurt you baby's soft gums yet clean with enough efficiency. Later, as more teeth erupt, larger baby brushes can be used with or without a toothpaste.
Milk teeth need not be treated for caries as they will eventually fall off
The biggest misconception that we as dentists hear almost everyday ! Milk teeth are NOT disposable alternatives to adult ones. They play a crucial role in the child’s growth and development. They help shape the bones of the face and the jaws and make way for the adult teeth to come in the correct position. Besides, having healthy teeth in the mouth helps in proper chewing and as a result much required nutrition for overall health. Neglecting a milk tooth can result in disastrous consequences and sometimes irrepairable damage to the teeth and oral structures in the future.
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