By Michelle Linzy
A child’s dental health is strongly determined by parental involvement and education. Family history of dental problems can be passed down to the next generation. If there is a history of decay on either side of family, there is a likelihood that the child will get it. Bacteria that causes decay is transmitted from mouth to mouth and can occur when baby is kissed on the mouth or handling utensils while infant is feeding. It is important that the mother has a high level of good oral health to prevent bacterial transmission.
Babies need to have their gums and tongues wiped after feeding to 1) prevent thrush that babies get because of yeast infection on tongue and 2) prevent abscesses from forming 3) to establish excellent dental behavior training. Thrush looks like cottage cheese or milk curds on the sides, roof and possibly tongue of an infant’s mouth. An abscess can become dangerous and painful when inflamed. Pus forms at the site of infection and will continue to become more painful until it either ruptures or is surgically drained. If the infections progresses without treatment, it can block the airway causing breathing to be difficult. It can also make you sick with vomiting, nausea, chills, fever and sweats.
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Dr. Neal Green advises parents that “children’s teeth should be brushed by the parent until the age of 5 or 6, and should be monitored until approx. 8 yrs old. A child can first start to brush their teeth around the age of 4, but the parent should go over the teeth again to ensure proper cleaning.”
Decay rates dropped from the 1970’s to the mid 1990’s due to water fluoridation and other preventative methods but rose due to diet changes and hygiene practices. Because of this fact, it is imperative that children need to be supervised brushing their teeth until about eight years old. Until approximately eight-years-old, children have not developed the dexterity or cognitive ability to have a pattern of oral hygiene care. Dr. Neal Green, DDS has the knowledge, skills and abilities to assist parents with helping their children maintain optimum dental health for now and the future.
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