16 Apr 2014 | 4 min Read
Author | 3 Articles
As your little one gets older and starts sprouting permanent teeth, don’t forget to take care of his/her teeth! Dr.Vyas answers some FAQs on thumb-sucking, cavities, braces and sugar. Know more on how to take care of permanent teeth of kids.
Generally a 6 monthly check up is advisable, but depending on your child’s decay potential, sometimes the Pediatric Dentist may recommend a check up every 3 months. These regular appointments allow for the dentist to reverse early signs of decay, or treat the dental problem in its nascent stage. Your child too gets comfortable visiting the Pediatric Dentist for a routine check when there is no pain or discomfort.
The first permanent molars erupt around 6 years of age behind the milk molars. They do not replace any milk tooth and with their eruption your child will have 24 teeth. Around the same time the permanent lower incisors will erupt, replacing the milk incisor teeth. The upper incisors erupt a year later around 7-8 years. The rest of the teeth erupt sequentially up till 12-13 years. The wisdom teeth or the third permanent molars erupt only after the age of 18 years.
The alignment of the permanent teeth will mainly depend on the size of the permanent tooth and the space that is available. If there is a match then the teeth will align regularly. Habits such as thumb sucking, lip biting can also cause teeth to erupt in a wrong place. Lastly, jaws that are too large or too small can also result in a malocclusion.
Thumb sucking is a comfort habit (non nutritive sucking) that begins for some children even in a mother’s womb. Most children stop these habits by the time they are 5 years of age. Treatment is delayed and the child is counselled and given an opportunity to discontinue the habit before the permanent teeth have erupted. Treatment ranges from reminder therapy using a bandage on the thumb or painting on a bitter substance to giving a fixed or removable habit breaking appliance.
Brushing twice daily and rinsing after every meal is the first step in cavity prevention. Avoid sticky and frequent sugar foods as they are easily fermented by the bacteria to release acids. Regular dental visits for check up and preventive treatment can ensure that your child remains cavity free.
All children must be given sugary foods as sugar is a source of energy as well as joy! However, sticky retentive sugars such as toffees, éclairs, lollipops, candies etc get stuck in the teeth for a long time and are difficult to rinse or even brush clean. Non sticky sweets such as milk chocolates, cakes, Indian mithais or homemade sweets such as kheer etc are certainly better.
Also the frequency of eating sugar foods should not be more than ONCE a day.
Treatments such as dental sealants for the back molars and fluoride applications for all the teeth are excellent preventive strategies followed the world over.
Fluoride strengthens a child’s teeth by making it more resistant to the acids produced by the harmful bacteria especially during the formative years of the teeth. The right amount of fluoride can also assist in remineralizing small defects in a tooth’s enamel.
Fluoride in the form of gels or a varnish must be applied every 6 monthly by your Pediatric Dentist.
Braces are usually recommended to improve crooked teeth or correct problems of a disturbed bite or any skeletal problems in the growth of the jaw bones. Treatment is recommended depending on the nature of the child’s problem. In some children an early appliance may be recommended around the age of 8 or 9 years. However majority of the children get fixed orthodontics done between 11 to 14 years for optimal results.
Bruxism or night grinding is a common problem amongst children. The gnashing of the teeth at night is a cause of concern to parents. Bruxism can be attributed to various conditions. In children the likely causes are erupting teeth and a changing bite. Other reasons could be intestinal parasites, nutrition deficiencies or even stress. If the wear and tear on the teeth is significant, then a night guard can be fabricated for your child.