Looking After Your Childs Teeth  

Is it necessary to fill “baby” teeth?  Do “baby” teeth have roots?

These are questions that I’m frequently asked.

The Answer:

Children’s teeth are small versions of adult teeth – they have nerves and they have roots.

When they have tooth decay, your child will have pain!

This often results in the child being a poor eater, poor sleeper or generally miserable.

Remember – prevention is better than cure.  Take your child to a dentist every 6 months so that they are familiar with the surroundings, instruments, noise etc, should they one day need work done.

Candid advice for the health of your child’s teeth:

A baby’s first tooth can erupt any time from 4 months, and it is important to start taking care of these teeth straight away.  Clean the tooth with a soft toothbrush or a soft “wipe”.  The child will get used to having his/her teeth brushed – you are enforcing a good habit.

If the baby is bottle-fed get rid of the bottle by the age of one year!  Nursing cavities is one of the most common paediatric complaints.  Do not allow your baby to sleep with a bottle, and never add sugar to a bottle.

At the age of one year old, change to a drinking cup – do not use a bottle with a spout or a nozzle, eg:  energade bottle.  Do not dip dummies in honey, sugar, and always clean your baby’s teeth before bedtime.

Contrary to popular belief, antibiotics do not cause tooth decay, but remember that they are often sweetened syrups, so clean teeth after dosing the baby.

Brush your child’s teeth twice a day and limit the amount of sweets your child consumes.

Sweets, fizzy cold drinks, chocolates, biscuits and cakes are treats – they should not be consumed on a daily basis.  Substitute these with healthy snacks instead like fruit, carrots, cheese etc.

Plaque (bacteria) uses sugar to form acid, which in turn will rot your child’s teeth.  Decrease plaque by regular brushing, and decrease their sugar intake.  In doing so you will be giving your child’s teeth a good start in life.

Healthy teeth and healthy gums lead to a happy, healthy smiling child.

By:  Rita Velleman BDS (Wits)                                                011-8673520
Dentist for Children                                                                 083 457 1699


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