Due to poor oral hygiene or poor eating habits we see the onset of tooth decay at this age and even in younger children. One of the most common causes of tooth decay is giving babies milk or fruit drinks before going to bed. Sugar remains on the teeth overnight causing tooth decay in both anterior and posterior teeth. It is also common to observe hypocalcification spots on permanent teeth (white spots) and the identification of defects in the development of the enamel of permanent teeth, problems that can be identified and addressed in our pediatric dentistry department.
In this case we advise parents to change their oral hygiene habits and we suggest an appointment with a hygienist so that their child is instructed and informed on the correct oral hygiene routine.
WHY ARE MILK TEETH IMPORTANT? Milk teeth, in addition to having an obvious aesthetic function, are essential for chewing.
They also serve as a guide for the eruption of permanent teeth and serve the fundamental function of "maintaining space" for the corresponding permanent tooth. If for reasons related to poor hygiene or poor nutrition, milk teeth undergo destructive carious processes, (i.e. the deciduous tooth becomes carious and reduces in size) or, even, they must be extracted because they are no longer curable, the space for the permanent tooth is drastically reduced, because the neighboring teeth will tend to shift to occupy it, and there will be serious crowding problems in permanent dentition.
It is therefore advisable to keep all deciduous teeth in good condition with proper oral hygiene and healthy eating habits until they naturally fall out. Too often it is thought that a decayed milk tooth is not a real problem because “it will just fall out!”
Dental Sealants: a barrier to protect permanent teeth
The goal of tooth sealing is to form a physical barrier on the tooth surface to prevent bacteria and food residues from accumulating in the dimples and grooves of healthy teeth. This prevents the formation of caries in those deep and narrow areas that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush.
The sealing takes place by applying a liquid, called sealant, in the grooves of the molars, which hardens the grooves and makes cleaning the teeth easier.
The sealing of the teeth is done in the dentist's office, it is an absolutely painless and fairly fast procedure, which does not require anesthesia. The best time to do it is around the age of 6, when the first permanent molars appear. It is useless to seal milk teeth.
Furthermore, at this age children often consume a large amount of sweets, in the form of snacks and juices and are not yet able to clean their teeth by themselves. From here we understand how high the caries risk is in children and at the same time how useful this "intervention" is as a prevention from caries. Although it is a rather simple procedure, the sealing of the teeth must always be performed by experienced and competent personnel. In fact, in the (rare) case in which pre-existing caries are sealed, the cariogenic infectious process could inexorably continue.
What to do if milk teeth are decayed?
Milk teeth are very important for the health of permanent teeth. If decayed, lost and/ or removed they compromise the function, position and aesthetics of the permanent teeth and have a cascading impact on the shape of the face. Take your child to the dentist to decide upon the right treatment plan for them.
What can I do if my child doesn't want to brush their teeth?
Imitation and play are the strongest levers that children use to learn. Brush your teeth with your baby and make this moment a pleasant and understanding game with him. He will start imitating you in daily hygiene practices and learning will be faster.
Is it better to use a manual toothbrush or an electric one?
With the manual toothbrush, the child learns the maneuvers better than the electric one; plus, the bristles are softer on the manual brush and therefore children can apply the right pressure necessary to remove plaque from the dental surfaces. If the family already has an electric toothbrush at home, it can be used too sometimes. If the child is very young, on the other hand, using the electric one can make things easier.
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