February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. It is observed to raise awareness about the importance of children’s oral health. Pertinent messages and materials are sent to millions of communities across the country to guide parents in properly caring for their kids’ teeth and gums.
The foundation of children’s dental health is established very early. Children with poor oral habits and dietary intake during the first two years of life are more prone to have tooth decay later. Children with decay in their primary teeth are likely to have similar problems in their permanent teeth. It is important for parents to establish a good oral hygiene regimen as early as possible.
Kids’ primary teeth begin to erupt from six months of age and are usually all in place by the time they reach two and half years old. The primary teeth are more susceptible to cavities because their enamel is composed of less dense minerals. Primary teeth are important for a child’s chewing and talking. They must be properly cared for until they are replaced by permanent teeth.
Children usually grow 20 primary teeth which are later replaced by 32 permanent teeth (or 16 pairs). In the beginning, permanent teeth have sparser mineralization. In time, though, there is a second mineralization which occurs as the teeth mature. If there are residual bacteria from the primary teeth, the bacteria may attack the immature enamel of the permanent teeth.
Though you may not feel like it is necessary to practice good oral hygiene with children who do not yet have teeth, or those who have only baby teeth, nothing could be further from the truth. Take advantage of the critical early years to clean your child’s gums and teeth. As your children get old enough to take care of their own teeth, teach them proper techniques. Help them develop a habit of daily brushing and flossing. If they are too young to brush well on their own, assist them to make sure that their teeth are cleaned thoroughly each day.
You should also take your children for regularly scheduled dental check-ups. Consistent dental visits from the youngest ages can often minimize fears down the line. Kids are more likely to be accepting of a dentist if they have built a relationship with him or her over time. If serious dental problems arise, consult a periodontist in Layton for immediate treatment.