Every parent wants their child to have healthy teeth and visit the dentist as rarely as possible. Even before their appearance, however, children's teeth require regular care. What are the most common causes of tooth decay in children, is night feeding dangerous and how does the dental health of parents affect the health of their children? We talked about these and other questions with the dentist Dr. Katerina Miteva.
Here are the most important rules that parents should not forget if they want their child to have healthy teeth and a beautiful smile:
- Take care of your teeth first, so you will protect your teeth from danger as welltsa.
The dental health of the parents predetermines what will be the condition of the teeth and of their children. Caries is an infectious disease for which bacteria are responsible Streptococcus Mutans, and it is transmitted even through a kiss. We can easily infect the little ones with gum disease or fungal infection of the species Candida albicans. Here we must pay special attention to mothers who lick the dropped pacifier in haste to the baby and put it back in his mouth. The same goes for tasting the food while it is being prepared. Don't do it, because if there is a problem in your mouth, there is a real danger of passing it on to your child.
- Do not feed the child at night, unless it is with breast milk
One of the most widespread myths is that breast milk tastes sweet and is bad for dental health. Everywhere we read recommendations to rinse the child's mouth with water after feeding and to give up night breastfeeding as early as possible. This is absolutely not necessary if the child receives only breast milk. On the contrary, the bacterium that causes caries is sensitive to one of the main ingredients of breast milk - lactoferrin, which limits its development. However, drinking formula, sleep teas or fruit juices at night poses risks to dental health. Unlike breast milk, formula creates an acidic environment by lowering the pH level in the mouth. When feeding with a bottle, the mechanism of feeding is different from that of breastfeeding. When feeding from the breast, the milk is literally sprayed into the back of the baby's mouth. In the process of sucking, the baby must swallow before sucking the next portion of milk, while in bottle feeding with a pacifier, the liquid mechanically drips into the mouth without stimulating swallowing. In this way, the liquid remains in contact with the teeth. Last but not least, it should be known that breast milk leads to enamel remineralization, while formula causes demineralization.
- Start oral hygiene at an early age
Cleaning the mouth of newborns, when their immune system is still immature, aims to prevent the occurrence of a fungal infection, better known as thrush. It is enough just to rinse the baby's mouth with water after feeding or in cases of regurgitation (vomiting). As soon as the first baby teeth appear - most often these are the lower and upper front incisors, you should start cleaning them regularly in the evening. Wrap sterile gauze over your index finger or use a specially designed rubber tip that you can buy at any pharmacy. The most important thing in this case is the creation of a positive attitude in the child towards the cleaning process. It's even better if you make it part of your bedtime games. However, do not force it under any circumstances.
- Avoid salty, sweet and carbohydrate foods between meals
Often in the playground you can see a mother offering salads or cookies, just to appease the naughty little one. Salts, however, are a real enemy of milk teeth, since frequent intake of carbohydrates disrupts the remineralization process. This does not mean to limit your children completely from the intake of sweet and carbohydrate foods. If they eat once a day after the main meal and then brush their teeth, the risk is not great. The key is in the frequency - be careful and do not allow the continuous eating of refined foods such as salads, berries, chips and cookies, just because it is "grandma's child". Also pay attention to natural juices and dried fruits masquerading as healthy foods, as they also pose a danger.
- Offer whole apples and carrots for children to nibble on themselves
This is one of the fastest ways to clean from dental plaque. Biting them stimulates more saliva, which is responsible for the regulation of balance in the oral cavity. In addition, solid fruits and vegetables help to strengthen the gums and are a good option to take between main meals, as they do not stick to the teeth, unlike refined foods.
- Set a good example for your children and show them how to brush their teeth
There are three important conditions for good dental health - hygiene, hygiene and more hygiene. The goal is to regularly remove dental plaque and caries-causing microorganisms. It is important to start building hygiene habits in children from an early age. The best way to do this is through the personal example of parents, as children love to imitate adults. It's enough to see mom and dad brushing their teeth or flossing to spark their curiosity. Brush your teeth with your child – let him wash yours and you his (each with his own brush). Create a ritual and mark the time you spend in the bathroom with a favorite children's song.
- Don't scare your child about the dentist and don't wait for a problem to appear before taking him in for a check-up
Take the child to the dentist for the first time, long before there are any signs of illness. You can take it with you when you go for a check-up yourself. Thus, the child will see how you sit in the chair and may just show a desire to "ride" in the dentist's chair. Here comes the role of the dental specialist to predispose the child to create a positive attitude during the first contact with dentistry. Do not turn the visit into an event, but behave in the usual way - as when you go for a daily walk. Do not convey your own fears and avoid preemptively promising that "it won't hurt" - the child will not think of such a thing unless someone "helpfully" reminds him. If your little one is still worried, cancel the visit and make another appointment. And remember: never do not scare the child that if he does not listen, he will be pierced with the "big needle" or with the "terrible machine". Once created, such fears can leave a lasting mark on a child's fragile psyche.
Dr. Katerina Miteva
Dentist, specialist in the field of microscopically assisted direct and indirect restorative dentistry.