Children’s teething

Many parents wait anxiously for the child’s first tooth to appear. The first baby tooth surfaces when children are, on average, between 7 and 8 months of age, but this varies and it can appear as early as at the age of 4 months and as late as 12 months. Anything in between is considered as normal deviation. Usually, the lower incisors are the first to appear, but then they surface one after the other and by two and a half years of age the child will have 20 teeth.

Children’s teething symptoms

Children’s teething can range from being almost without symptoms, to creating considerable inconvenience to the child. Among symptoms the child can experience are:

  • Increased saliva (drooling)
  • Itchy gums
  • Swollen gums
  • General irritation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Slightly elevated body temperature

Unlike popular belief, teething does not cause a high fever, vomiting or diarrhea. If your child has any such symptoms it is likely a bacterial- or viral infection. Gnawing on a rubber ring can create considerable relief for your baby, as it can reduce itching and annoyance in the gums. Teething rings are available in various shapes and sizes.

Tooth Brushing

Good dental care is important right when the first tooth appears, for if they are not well cleaned teeth can decay soon after surfacing. It is recommended that you brush all teeth a minimum twice a day, for two minutes at a time, with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is our best defense against tooth decay and the potency of the fluoride is determined by the child’s age. Children who are 0-5 years old should use toothpaste with a fluoride level of 1000 ppm, but six-year-olds and older should use toothpaste with a fluoride level of 1450 ppm. Only use a small amount of toothpaste on the brush. For children of the age of 0-3 year you should only use an amount that is as big in size as ¼ of the child’s pinky fingernail, but for children who are 3-5 years of age you should use an amount that is as big as the child’s whole pinky fingernail. 6 years and older should use approximately 1 cm of toothpaste. When the teeth have been brushed thoroughly, it is best to spit the rest of the toothpaste into the sink and not rinse mouth afterwards. This will maximize the effectiveness of the fluoride and ensure maximum strengthening of the teeth. Children should be assisted with their tooth brushing until they reach 10 years of age.

Flossing

When the child’ teeth increase in number the space between them diminishes and they touch, which is a good time to introduce your child to dental floss. Apart from the molar crown, the most common location for tooth rot is between the teeth. While the baby teeth are still in the mouth, the most likely location for tooth rot is between the inner most baby-molars and it is therefore important to keep those spaces as clean as possible, using dental floss.

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