that affect your child's teeth
children engage in non-nutritive sucking. Most parents worry about the pacifiers which
they themselves introduced to the child but now have become a cause for concern.
son is 15 month, sucks his thumb virtually all day. Would it affect his teeth? I can
already see them protruding? Hope I am dreaming?
|Thumb sucking is
seen very commonly in children and is often a problem of concern. Many normal children
suck their thumbs for short periods during infancy and early childhood. As a general rule
sucking habits during milk teeth years will have little or no long-term effect. There
might be slight displacement of teeth in a 3-4 year old thumb sucker but if sucking stops
at this stage the teeth are restored to original positions with normal pressure of cheeks
and lips. But if the habit continues beyond the time when the permanent teeth (incisors)
begin to erupt i.e. 6 7 years, it can have affect on your childs teeth.
|What are the effects of thumb
|Effects of thumb sucking depend on the
frequency and duration of thumb sucking. When a child places his thumb/finger between the
teeth he is pressing the lower teeth inward and putting an outward pressure on upper
teeth. The possible effects, thus, are:
- Flaring out of upper incisors BUCK TEETH
- Spacing between upper incisors
- Pushing in of lower incisors
- Narrow upper jaw
great difficulty my son gave up thumb sucking. What other habits can be detrimental for
problem mothers face is grinding/gnashing of teeth - BRUXISM. It usually occurs at night
but if carried out for long period of time can cause wearing (abrasion) of both milk and
permanent teeth. If habit continues into adulthood severe gum problems, sensitivity
of teeth and sometime joint disturbances (pain) of lower jaw.
to tackle, if child gets into this habit?
|Once again we
have to seek the underlying cause, mostly seen in nervous children. If there is anything
interfering when the child is chewing, this habit is triggered particularly if the child
is suffering from nervous tension. Bite guards are constructed especially for such
children (during night) so those teeth are not further damaged.
does tongue thrust affect the child?
- Protrusion of upper incisors
- Open Bite
to manage a child with this habit?
- Practice swallowing at least 20 times before a meal. Take
glass of water, place tip of tongue behind upper incisors and then swallow.
- After tongue and muscle are trained reminder appliances given to position tongue
Loops or metal cribs do not let the tongue come forward
during swallowing. Defined as placement of tongue between incisors during swallowing.
daughter breathes through mouth. I am worried this may become permanent. Please guide!
|Many children breathe through
an open mouth, especially at night. This is mainly caused by nasal blockage. Causes:
- Chronic allergies
- Nasal infections
- Deviated Nasal Septum
Open mouth breathing forces changes in position of head,
jaw, and tongue.
- Increased face height
- open bite
- protrusion of incisors
- narrow upper jaw
Contact your family physician and tackle the proper cause
BABY BOTTLE DECAY caused by Bottle Feeding and Breast
Feeding - Prolonged and frequent bottle-feeding and at will breast-feeding are responsible
for causing decay called BBD.
|Give it a thought. You put a
feeding bottle in a babys mouth to put him to sleep, baby falls asleep but the milk
containing sugar gets collected around his teeth à upper incisors. This sweetened milk
provides an excellent nutrition for the BACTERIA in the mouth, which converts the sugar
into harmful acids. These harsh acids cause decay
typically in upper incisors teeth called "NURSING BOTTLE DECAY" (see pic).
- Does breast feeding also cause this?
Since mother's milk contains lactose a form of
sugar, if allowed to stagnate around teeth, then yes!!
- How can I avoid this?
Right from birth, hold the infant while feeding.
- If Infant or child falls asleep while feeding, he should be burped and then placed in
- Start brushing teeth as soon as they erupt.
- Discontinue bottle feeding as soon as child can drink from a cup (12- 15 mths)
- Early dental checkup.
do I inculcate right brushing habits in my 1½ yr old son? Do I have to take any special
precautions while brushing his teeth?
|Has it ever occurred to
you that there is a right way of brushing and a wrong way of brushing. Wrong brushing
habits can affect your child's teeth and more so the gums. Brushing is just not scrubbing the teeth hard. It includes choosing the right
brush, the right toothpaste and finally the correct method for doing it.
The Correct Toothbrush:
Today you can choose from a variety of toothbrushes available for the infant as well as a
teenager. Brushes come in different sizes for children
- Choose a good quality, reliable brand tooth brush do not compromise. Keep all the
freebies for yourself and not use for your child
- Head of a brush should be small enough to adapt to childs mouth
- Bristles of brush should be of soft nylon
- Using an angulated brush will help you reach the most posterior tooth.
The Correct Toothpaste:
Most parents ask "which is the best toothpaste for the child". This confusion
arises from the numerous advertisements seen on the television.
The Correct Brushing Technique:
The objective of brushing is to remove plaque, food particles and massage the gums without
causing any trauma.
Children often hate brushing and tend to be lazy. Maybe they do not realize the importance
or on the other hand some love the taste of toothpaste and often there is less paste on
the teeth and more in the stomach.
- Parents should brush the childs teeth when small and
as the child grows help the child with it till he can do it on his own.
Parents have to keep a check or as we say monitor whether
the child is doing it properly.
- All surfaces of all teeth should be brushed thoroughly
- Select few teeth (3 4) at a time
- Bristles of brush at an angle (45O) towards gums. For chewing surfaces
bristles held upright to the tooth.
- Brush moved back and forth with short strokes in gentle scrubbing motion.
- Move on to the next 3 4 teeth
- Brush all surfaces inner as well as outer plus the chewing surfaces of back teeth
(molars and premolars)
- Brush for a minimum time of 3 minutes.
Rinse the brush thoroughly with
water and keep in an open area after use.
- Children should brush after every meal preferably or at
least twice a day.
- Discard a brush after bristles are
frayed. (3 months) You unnecessarily exert more pressure on gums trying to clean with such
Use minimum toothpaste (pea size) till child can
Harmful effects of wrong Brushing:
- Very hard bristles or too much force applied
- wearing off the enamel
- injury to the gums
- Too big head
- Ineffective removal of dental plaque and food
particles leading to decay and gum diseases.
|When should you start brushing?
|It is recommended that
parents begin cleaning infant's mouth by the time the 1st tooth erupts. The Infant
Wrap a damp cloth or gauze around your index finger and wipe the teeth and gums once a
As more teeth erupt you can begin using a small soft toothbrush
At this early age toothpaste not recommended since child will not be able to rinse mouth
and may swallow toothpaste.
Consuming too many sweets, chocolates, candies, cola, potato chips are not good for your
childs teeth. In addition to types of food you eat, when and how you eat can also
effect dental health.
Some DOS and DONTS
Limit frequency of snacking
Beware of foods that you keep in your mouth for long time, because they give plaque more
time to produce acids, eg chewing gums.
Limit foods that you suck candies, mints, cough lozenges.
Similarly, avoid sticky food
like caramel, containing chocolates (eclairs) chikki, popcorn.
If you eat meals rich in sugar or starch, try to eat them with your meals, rather than
in between meals.
More saliva produced during meals. This saliva helps
neutralize acid production. Also it clears food from mouth.
EAT FOODS THAT HAVE CALCIUM, VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Milk is very important for growing child. Also
include more of crunchy vegetables and fruits like carrots and apples. Not only are these
foods healthy, but also help in cleaning teeth. Your diet should be well balanced.Snacks should include: salads,
fruits, bean sprouts rather than burgers, pizzas, chips, biscuits.Refined foods contain
sugar and starch.Biting an apple is healthy for your teeth, whereas biting a burger is
not. Your child MUST learn proper
brushing in pre-school age only, as after entering school the war of doing everything in
record time will start and even for you brushing will take a back seat to catching the