Pediatric DentistrySome people think that teeth development for children starts when they are between four months and one year old, but this isn’t the case. Baby teeth begin to form when the fetus is five weeks of development, and baby teeth begin to erupt when the infant is between four months and one year old.

Teething

Every child is different from the other and teething (eruption) also varies from child to child. By the time a child is turning three years old, he/she will have a set of 20 teeth, ten teeth on the lower jaw and ten teeth on the upper jaw. Incisors are the first teeth to erupt, then the canines, followed by premolars, and lastly molars.

Signs of teething

• Gums appear swollen

• Gums color darkens, and a cyst which is greyish appears on the gum which will disappear on its own.

• A child becomes irritated, and it is hard to keep the child comfortable.

Teething tips

• Teething rusks or biscuits that don’t contain sugars. When the kid chews on the biscuit, it relieves the itchiness that comes with teething.

• Massaging the kid's gums with your fingers or clean cloth will help reduce itchiness.

It isn’t advisable to use painkillers since they can harmful for your child.

When is the best time to start cleaning your kid’s teeth?

Oral hygiene is crucial for a child immediately after it is born. Most mothers don’t see the necessity of cleaning an infant’s gums since they don’t have teeth. Cleaning your child’s gums as early as birth will protect their future teeth from decay. Here is a list you can refer to according to your child's age.

● 0-first teeth. Use a clean cloth to remove traces of infant food and milk.

● First tooth - one-year-old. Use soft toothbrush suitable for kids and plain water to clean your child’s teeth. Brush twice daily. When your child turns one year take him/her to a dentist for the regular checkup.

● 1 1/2 years - 2 1/2 years. Put a pea-sized toothpaste suitable for children. Don’t encourage swallowing of toothpaste instead instruct the kid to spit out the paste after brushing.

Flossing should begin when your kid is 2 1/2 years. The child should continue with kid’s toothpaste until he/she is six years of age. By the time your child is eight years old, he/she should be able to brush their teeth unsupervised.

Dental visits

Dental visits can be hard for some kids and preparing them beforehand can help. You can talk about teeth cleaning to your child and make him/her understand the importance of visiting the dentist.

For younger kids, you can play games that are dental themed. It will prepare the child for the next visit, and they will be ready to go to the dentist. If it is their first time, it can be hard because they don't know what to expect. You can prepare your child by telling him/her what is going to happen during the visit so that they are not surprised.

How to brush the right way

Brush your kid’s teeth in a circular motion with a toothbrush. Brush for two minutes to ensure you remove food residues on your child’s teeth. Brushing teeth in a back and forth motion isn’t the best way to clean your or your child’s teeth.

More dental tips

● Preach what you do. You should be an excellent example to your kids as children will always learn by looking at you. Brush your teeth after every meal, floss regularly, and eat healthy food.

● Encourage your children to brush their teeth after every meal, even when they are at school. You can have them carry a travel toothbrush while at school so they can brush their teeth after their meals.

● Choose a dentist you can trust and don’t change dentists frequently. It becomes much more comfortable to visit a dentist for regular dental visits when the dentist is the same you attended many times. Your kids will feel more comfortable with a dentist they are used to seeing when they visit a dental office.

● Tell them the importance of flossing and teach them how to floss on their own.

● Reward your kids for every good dental habit they practice as this will encourage them to keep on practicing the right habits.