Pediatric Dentistry is a dental specialty that concentrates its attention on infants and children providing preventive and therapeutic oral health care. During the “growth” phase of a child, special approaches are needed to guide the dental growth and development in order to avoid future dental problems.
Taking care of milk teeth A common question that parents ask is “why spend on the maintenance of milk teeth when they are to be finally replaced by the permanent ones?”
Milk teeth are as important as the permanent ones because Baby teeth are important in proper feeding and nutrition. Milk teeth serve as space maintainers for the proper spacing and alignment of the permanent teeth. Healthy milk teeth are crucial in helping the baby learn how to speak properly. Healthy looking teeth are important in building self-confidence at an early age. Small children because of immaturity are quick to tease peers about ugly looking or decayed teeth.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Nursing Bottle Caries)
The term describes a dental condition which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth since they are the first teeth to erupt and thus have the longest exposure time to the sugars in the feeding bottle. The lower front teeth tend to be protected by the tongue as the child sucks on the nipple of the bottle or the breast. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is caused by long exposure of a child’s teeth to liquid containing sugars generally when the baby falls asleep with a bottle containing milk or juice or a pacifier dipped in honey etc. The liquid pools around the front teeth. During sleep, the bacteria living in every baby’s mouth, turns the milk sugar or other sugars to acid which causes the decay.
By the time the condition is noticed by the parents it may be too late and extractions of the decayed teeth may be necessary. As a result, your child may suffer from long term disorders which include speech impediments, possible psychological damage, crooked or crowded teeth, and poor oral health.
The condition can be easily prevented by:
- Cleaning your child’s teeth daily
- Giving plain water after a bottle of juice, milk, or formula (or when awake, sip on it for long periods of time as a pacifier) Starting bottle weaning by at least an year
- Making sure your child gets the fluoride needed to prevent decay
- Having regular dental visits for your child beginning when their first tooth erupts