Q & A with Dr. Vyas: Babies & Teething

Q & A with Dr. Vyas: Babies & Teething

Some thoughtful advice and answers to dental FAQs by moms-to-be and moms with little babies at home. Check it out! Tooth brushing tips for kids by our expert.

What should pregnant mothers do to ensure their babies have healthy teeth?

A mother with healthy teeth is more likely to ensure that her child too will have healthy teeth. Pregnant women are advised to include optimal calcium in their diet in the form of milk or other supplements to ensure that the baby has healthy bones and teeth. Tetracyclines are a known cause of staining in children's teeth and their use to treat infections in pregnant women should be avoided. Pregnant women should visit the dentist for advise on teething, keeping the babys teeth clean and consequences of prolonged bottle feeding and other habits.

When will my child's first tooth erupt?

The first milk tooth erupts around six months of age. The lower incisors usually erupt first followed by the upper incisors; though this sequence can also reverse. A child has twenty milk teeth that include incisors, canines and molars that erupt sequentially till the age of 2.5 to 3 years. Teething is not a milestone and time of eruption can vary by a few months from child to child. Often, children start teething as late as 14-16 months.

What can I do to ease the irritation of my baby when he is teething?

Most parents associate their child's biting and chewing on objects as a sign of teething. This is the only way the child can alleviate the discomfort and pain caused due to eruption of teeth. Teething rings or other clean objects or even thick carrot pieces or celery sticks can be given to the child to soothe the irritation in the gums. Topical anaesthetic gels may be advised if the gums are inflamed.

Does fever and diarrhoea accompany teething?

It is a common myth that fever and diarrhoea accompanies teething. They are actually a consequence of the child putting unclean fingers and other objects in their mouth to relieve the discomfort of teething. Mobile phones, TV remotes, bag straps etc are commonly chewed by children and these carry the maximum infection.

Will bottle feeding affect my child's teeth?

When bottle feeding is continued after eruption of the milk teeth (1 year age), the milk, infant formula, juice etc continues to remain in the mouth once the child has fallen asleep. This causes very rapid and severe destruction of the teeth. Bottle feeding should be avoided if possible and if given your child should be weaned of the nursing bottle by 8-9 months of age.

Is teething painful for permanent teeth?

Teething can be associated with pain especially when the bigger 1st permanent molar is erupting in the mouth. When the lower front teeth begin to shake, most children are happy as they look forward to their tooth falling and the tooth fairy's visit!

Allow your children to move the shaking milk tooth with their tongue or fingers. This will help the milk tooth to fall, allowing the permanent tooth to take its place.

Do we treat cavities in milk teeth?

Milk teeth are important as they not only help in biting and chewing effectively, but also help in correct speech development. Milk teeth if left untreated can affect the normal development of permanent teeth.

Early loss of milk teeth due to cavities or trauma may lead to crowding or space loss resulting in a less than ideal situation for erupting permanent teeth.

Most importantly a healthy smile is as important to a child as it is for an adult to look and feel good about oneself.

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