Parents are directly responsible for the oral health of their children and should be aware of the importance of the visit to the dentist. In this way, we avoid the most common pain during childhood, the dental one, and detect problems in the eruption of the teeth and the development of the jaws in time.
Dr. Denisa Zaharia, an orthodontic specialist, explained, for the Doctor of the Day, how the children's teeth should be taken care of.
According to interdisciplinary studies, children with poor oral health are absent three times more from school because of dental pain, which is associated with poor school performance, compared to those with good oral status and no pain. The prevention and early detection of caries helps children with no pain, difficulties with eating or talking, and greatly reduces the risk of absent from school.
How do we encourage habits of maintaining oral health?
Parents are very helpful in preventing tooth decay, encouraging their children to brush their teeth twice a day, at least three minutes, and to use dental floss once a day.
Children under 6 years
Usually, at this age, children want to brush their own teeth, but they do not have the necessary skills. Let them start and you will intervene along the way. They were not used to the appearance of molars and incisors and that the mouth is in a process of growth.
Do not let the tooth decay advance and treat them in time, otherwise a more complex, longer and more expensive treatment than the incipient phase will be needed. Moreover, they can have long-term effects on the oral health of young children because it can even lead to the extraction of an affected tooth. The free space created will subsequently influence the positioning of all the teeth on the arch and, implicitly, the eruption of permanent teeth. In these cases, it is recommended to apply a space maintainer to avoid wearing a dental device in the future.
Age 7-12 years
At this age, children know how to proceed with brushing, but often will not. You need to encourage their proper hygiene habits, which also involves the use of dental floss. Sometimes you have to insist that when they are teenagers they will understand the need for care.
Around the age of 6-7 years, the first consultation with the orthodontic doctor is recommended. This is the time when disorders can be observed in maxillary bone growth and lack of space for permanent tooth eruption and intervention can occur. There are rare cases when on this occasion we discover the lack of permanent tooth buds or the presence of over-numbered teeth.
Often, parents come to the Perfectdent clinic accusing the incipient eruption in time and, following radiological control, we discover the presence of an extra tooth (supernumerary), which blocks the eruption of the normal incisor. The behavior is to extract this extra tooth, and then the final tooth will spontaneously erupt or be assisted with an orthodontic device. It is important that during this period of jaw growth and eruption of the fingers, the child should be monitored and intervene if necessary.
Sometimes we find abnormalities in development and / or the presence of vicious habits (finger suggestion, oral breathing or infant swallowing) that negatively affect growth and need to be removed. It must be done either by applying a device that further stimulates the growth of the jaw or stops an increase of the jaw. After the age of 12, when all permanent teeth erupt, it is recommended to apply fixed devices.
Age 12-18 years
It is the critical period for dental health. Studies show a higher frequency of caries in young children, but the next peak is in adolescents and young adults. One reason is that, seeing that they have not had caries for years, they do not consider that they could appear again. Parents should insist and encourage them to maintain their dental hygiene habits because this adolescent behavior will be taken over by the young adult as well.
Ignoring problems, whether they are tooth decay or disharmony in the development of the arches and in the eruption of the teeth, influences the aesthetic function, severely affecting the quality of life of adolescents. It is the age at which self-confidence is very important, and dental disharmony is a potential factor for bullying. It is proven through studies that the negative effects of bullying are aimed at antisocial behavior, difficulties in group integration or diminishing empathy with others.
All these aesthetic problems can be eliminated by orthodontic treatment, non-invasive, simple and pain-free intervention.
It is very important how we plan the visit to the dentist
Many parents want to schedule after a day of school, but if the child is already tired he will no longer have the patience. It is important that you do not come with him hungry, to feel comfortable, but that does not mean that you have to give him to eat in the waiting room. If the little ones have a pronounced vomit reflex, it is good to eat something easy. Equally important is to teach your child to brush his teeth before visiting a dentist.
Leave anxiety at the door!
If you are stressed when you come with the child, he or she will feel and take over the parent's condition. It is very important in children, especially those between 4 and 6 years old, because unfortunate experiences from this age will turn into adult phobias compared to the dentist.
Communication with the child is very important. Don't tell him it will only take a little while, encourage him to ask your doctor. It is important to think positively, starting from the idea that your teeth are strong and healthy and so the rest of your life must remain.