Experts warn of the long-term consequences of child caries
Healthy milk teeth are very important for children. Because these promote language learning, among other things, ensure that the jaw grows properly and the permanent dentition develops well. It is therefore important to start regular and thorough oral hygiene in children as early as possible. Experts explain how the milk teeth are best cared for and what parents should pay attention to.
A lack of dental care can have bad consequences
Dentists repeatedly emphasize the importance of thorough dental care from an early age. Because if the milk teeth are not properly cared for, this can have serious consequences for the healthy development of the child, such as later misalignment of teeth, growth or speech disorders, explains the Federal Dental Association in a press release.
Caries caused by sweetened drinks from baby bottles
However, many parents do not take their children's dental care seriously enough. "It is a sad fact that 15 percent of children under the age of three in Germany are already affected by caries," said Prof. Dr. Dietmar Oesterreich, Vice President of the Federal Dental Association. Early childhood tooth decay affects all population groups, but particularly often families in socially difficult situations, adds the expert. Early childhood tooth decay is caused by the combination of excessive drinking of sugary and acidic drinks e.g. from nipple bottles, and poor oral hygiene in early childhood.
Tooth loss promotes later deformities
If a tooth is so damaged that it falls out early or has to be removed, this has consequences for the healthy growth of the permanent teeth, explains Darjusch Haßfurther, dentist in the youth dental service of the City of Oldenburg's health department, in an interview with "NWZ Online". "A prematurely lost milk tooth can no longer fulfill its placeholder function, so that the natural development of the permanent row of teeth becomes disordered." For the child, this could mean, among other things, later tooth misalignments, some of which would have to be corrected by orthodontics, said Haßfurther.
Get the baby used to oral hygiene before the first tooth
So that it doesn't get that far, parents should start with the right little ones with the right oral hygiene. Even before the first milk tooth is visible, parents can slowly get their baby used to brushing their teeth by gently running their fingers along the alveolar ridge.
If the first tooth is there, cleaning with a soft children's toothbrush is recommended. At the beginning e.g. A cotton swab or fine cotton cloth is also used, explains Haßfurther: “Regular dental care is crucial. The milk teeth also need to be cleaned twice a day. ”A fluoride-containing children's toothpaste should be used at least once a day to increase the resistance of the tooth enamel to caries bacteria.
Tooth development individually different
The milk teeth usually appear in the 6th to 7th month of life. Most babies first break through the lower incisors, then gradually add the molars and canines until the child's teeth have 20 teeth at the end. These are replaced by permanent teeth between the ages of 6 and 12. The milk teeth usually fall out of their own accord and thereby make way for the new teeth, which ideally are retained throughout life. How the milk teeth develop, which teeth break through first and in which order can vary from child to child. Even if the child only gets the first tooth at the age of one, there is no need to worry.
Cleaning is important
In the first few years, parents should brush every time because the children still lack the motor skills to perform all toothbrushing movements correctly. In the sixth year of life, it is also advisable to look behind the milk teeth regularly to check whether a new tooth may have "hidden" there.
It is very important for healthy tooth development to get the little ones used to visiting the dentist at an early stage, emphasizes Darjusch Haßfurther: "It is best to take the child with you to your own examinations for your own examinations." The doctor can do this A quick glance at the child's dentition can tell you what condition it is in.
The advantage: If caries is discovered early in such a check, it can be removed easily. By getting used to it early on, a later fear of the dentist can be avoided: "If the children have learned that a visit to the dentist is relaxed and friendly routine, they have no problem accompanying their parents or later attending to the appointment themselves," explains Haßfurther.
Avoid sugary foods
Nutrition also plays a central role in the healthy development of children's teeth and protection against tooth decay. For example, if a toddler constantly drinks sugared tea from the vial, the teeth will be damaged continuously. The little ones should therefore not get any sugary drinks such as sweet tea or fruit juice.
It is also important to ensure that children do not eat too many sweets. What many parents do not know: milk also damages milk teeth. Because if the teeth are constantly washed around, the milk sugar (lactose) it contains can damage the teeth over time. Children should therefore simply drink water or unsweetened tea as often as possible. (No)