Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dentistry that deals with teeth in children.

Why is it important to take care of milk/pediatric teeth?

Milk teeth act as space maintainers in the mouth. If milk teeth are removed too early, the permanent teeth from behind drift forward and occupy the space left by the extracted teeth leading to poor alignment. Milk teeth also help in expansion of the jaw.

Milk teeth should therefore be retained in the mouth until when it is naturally expected to exfoliate or removed close to that time. It has also been shown that good smiles impart confidence in children which is reflected on good self-esteem.

How do you take care of a child’s oral hygiene?

Impart good oral habits like brushing early enough. Gradually teach them good brushing techniques and ensure you change the toothbrush after every three months or when the bristles begin to bend. Brushing can be introduced between the ages of 1 to 2 years. It is equally important to introduce babies to dental visits around the same age. At that age, no procedures are done and this helps them not to associate dental visits with pain hence better co-operation in future. It is equally important to have annual visits for diagnosis of dental conditions in the early stages and for early intervention.

Role of diet

Diet is key in development of teeth. Ensure your baby gets a balanced diet. Avoid putting the baby to sleep by breastfeeding because some milk is left in the mouth that over time is broken down by bacteria leading to widespread cavities in the mouth. Very sugary foods should also be avoided and if must be given should be restricted to meal-times followed by brushing. High fluoride levels in water can also lead to colour changes in teeth, a condition called fluorosis. This problem is normally regional in distribution and mainly affects those who use borehole water.

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