Monday, September 19, 2011

Why toddlers need to maintain their first teeth?

By theory everyone knows that we need to keep our teeth healthy, but I’m very sure many parents do not place importance on maintaining their toddlers’ first teeth, and I doubt parents really brush their toddlers’ teeth when their toddlers are one year plus, which is suggested by the expert.
Kids will lose all their first teeth anyway! I was once among those who think this way, until I heard a radio program on the importance of dental hygiene for toddlers.
Yes, baby first teeth will drop and be replaced by the permanent teeth, but mind you, the permanent teeth only grow out when the kids are around 6 years old. I’m sure no one likes to be called “bo geh” (toothless) in his or her childhood, and this will not only affect the appearance of the kid, but also the digestion of food when the kid eats. Moreover, these primary teeth hold the right spaces for the permanent teeth. Children with tooth decay problems will also suffer from emotional distress, and have the higher tendency of related gum diseases.
One interesting point highlighted by the dentist in the radio program was that, children need to brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste, he said, only fluoride gives protection to the enamel of the teeth. This is contrary to what we read or heard, children below four cannot use fluoride toothpaste as they tend to swallow the toothpaste instead of rinse it away. If a child swallow too much of fluoride, it can cause the child with a tooth condition called fluorosis. According to Wikipedia, “fluorosis appears as tiny white streaks or specks that are often unnoticeable. The spots and stains left by fluorosis are permanent. They may darken over time.” This is the reason why, most of the toothpastes used by kids are fluoride-free. But the dentist had his argument over it, he said so far, only fluoride was medically proven to protect the tooth enamel from decay, and when brushing teeth, the moderate usage of toothpaste will not result in excessive consumption that could lead to fluorosis.
So what is my take? Well, the dentist is right that only fluoride is medically proven to protect tooth from decay, but it is also right that kids like to swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it. I do want my kids to have good dental hygiene but I also do not want her to get fluorosis especially our water supplies are already with fluoride. So, I will let my girl use the fluoride-free toothpaste till the time she knows how to rinse her mouth.
Getting the concept right doesn’t mean you can now start to do the right thing. Majority of the toddlers especially those below three refuse to brush their teeth, or let others touch their teeth. You probably need to spend more time on getting them to brush teeth than deciding on fluoride or fluoride-free toothpaste. For me, I let my girl used the toothbrush without toothpaste initially, she was not interested in it. I then bought a toothbrush with Spongebob design, and the Orajel training toothpaste with fruity favourite and Thomas train packaging. The miracle works and she now likes to brush her teeth. You might want to try it out.

2 comments:

Diana Dickert on March 8, 2012 at 9:42 PM said...

When I was a kid, my mother would usually check my teeth out for cavities and always kept me from eating too many sweets. If it wasn't for her and my dentist, I wouldn't have the sweet smile I have today! LOL.

Aura Minaya on April 3, 2013 at 3:00 AM said...

I know there were contradicting thoughts between the usual way we take care of toddler’s teeth and the dentist on the radio program, but I suggest we consider consulting with our personal dentist regarding this matter. He/she’s the one who knows the condition of the teeth of our kids, so I guess he/she’s the one who has the right to tell us what to do. As parents, we still have to be cautious of what our kids eat, especially when it comes to food that can create cavities. Regular brushing their teeth is still the best thing to do to clean the teeth and prevent tooth decay.

+ Aura Minaya +

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