Continues from previous week Children’s Dentist Part I.
Dr Lisa Lucey from Lucey Dental Surgery answers our parents’ most frequently asked questions about children’s dental health.
6. Does the type of toothpaste matter?
Children under the age of 2 should not use toothpaste. Use a soft cloth to clean a baby’s gums and teeth, and later a soft child’s toothbrush when the ‘back molars’ start to appear. Between the ages of 2 and 6, a pea-size amount of children’s toothpaste is recommended. From the age of 6 and over, or when the front permanent teeth appear, move to adult toothpaste. If your child experiences cavities, talk to your dentist about a higher fluoride content toothpaste, and reduce sugary foods to a minimum.
Children develop differently and so do their teeth. Your dentist will be able to advise when your child needs orthodontic treatment, which is usually after all their permanent teeth are in place, around the age of 11+.
8. Does every child need to see an orthodontist?
Orthodontics is a type of specialist dental treatment that aims to improve the appearance, position and function of crooked or abnormally arranged teeth. Some orthodontic problems, however, are not aesthetic and do not involve eruptive teeth. Sometimes, a child’s teeth and jaw do not develop in the normal way. Other cases are the result of certain behaviours, such as frequent thumb sucking, or an injury to the teeth or bones of the face. Orthodontics uses mechanical devices, such as a brace, over a certain period of time (usually 18 months to two years) to correct the position of the teeth. Not every child needs orthodontics but many would benefit from it, and early intervention is advised, if needed. (More on hse.ie)
9. What do I do if my child knocks out a tooth?
If a tooth is ‘chipped’ or knocked into the socket, it may require a splint/filling/x-ray, so see your dentist as soon as you can. If a baby tooth is knocked out, do not attempt to stick it back in – this would damage the permanent tooth that is forming underneath. If it is a permanent tooth, follow the instructions below:
You must attend a dentist as quickly as possible. With all dental injuries, time is of critical importance, and will make the difference between possibly keeping the tooth or losing it.
10. Why are ‘second’ teeth so yellow?
Second teeth are naturally yellower in colour than baby teeth, which are called ‘milk’ teeth as they are very white. Young permanent teeth have big nerves in them that make them more hollow and translucent, and therefore more yellow in appearance.