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Dental Care For Children
As children grow from toddlers to teens, their dental care needs continue to evolve. But between contact sports and sugar-laden sweets and sodas, how can you protect their teeth and preserve their smiles? Here, posted with permission from the Academy of General Dentistry™ July 2007, are some rules of thumb for concerned parents:
The general rule is six months after eruption of the first tooth. Some children require a bit more time to be comfortable. If an area of concern is noticed, then the child should see a dentist as soon as possible.
It is very important to maintain the baby teeth because these teeth hold space for the future eruption of the permanent teeth. If a baby tooth decays or is removed too early, the space necessary for the permanent teeth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment. Infected baby teeth can cause the permanent teeth to develop improperly resulting in stains, pits and weaker teeth.
Children will begin losing their teeth at approximately age 4. They will usually lose their front teeth first. Children will continue to lose baby teeth until the age of 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally erupt.
Generally, if the child has stopped sucking his/her thumb by age 5 there is no permanent damage. If the child is a vigorous and constant thumbsucker, however, there can be moderate to severe movement of teeth and prevention of normal bone growth.
If the tooth is a permanent tooth, time is extremely crucial. Immediately stick the tooth back in the socket. Don't worry about getting it in straight or having it turned backwards, just get it in the socket and immediately call your dentist. If you are uncomfortable placing the tooth in the socket, put it in a glass of milk and get your child to the dentist as quickly as possible. If the tooth is a baby tooth, do not put it in the socket because damage to the permanent tooth can occur. When in doubt, put the tooth in milk and see your dentist immediately.
To learn more about what you can do to keep your children's smiles safe, visit these sites: