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 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My daughter has around 15 teeth, but she does not let me brush them. As a result, her teeth are turning yellow. She eats up the paste everytime I try brushing her teeth! How should I take care of her teeth?

Champa (Barelli, India)

A: Milk teeth have a special role to play in a child's life. They are important in more than one way. Besides maintaining space for permanent teeth, they also help in speech development. So, please don't ignore them. You have to brush her teeth properly. If she eats the paste, use a paste not containing fluoride and then let her eat it. You can also clean her teeth with a soft, wet cloth when she is asleep. But, brushing is compulsory.

Dr. Hemanshu Mehta

Q: My son has got around 6 teeth. When will he get more teeth? Is it advisable to give him calcium supplements to develop his teeth?

Kantha (Ahmedabad, India)

A: If your child eats a balanced meal and drinks milk regularly, and does not show any signs of calcium deficiency then calcium tonic is not required. His teeth would normally erupt by the age of 30 months. You are advised to clean his teeth with a soft clean piece of cloth every morning and just before sleeping every night. This will help in maintaining his teeth.

Dr. Hemanshu Mehta

Q: My baby's teeth turned black when he was around 2 years old. I usually breastfeed him at night. Nowadays we give him vitamin and iron drops. Please help.

Zainab (Jubail, Saudi Arabia )

A: You are advised to brush your child's teeth and rinse the mouth thoroughly after the iron medication is taken because iron medication can cause staining of the teeth. Visit your local dentist for cleaning of the stained teeth. Also, do not breastfeed your child when he is sleeping.

Dr. Hemanshu Mehta

Q: Our son has had a history of GERD but has been treated by a paediatric G.I. who has done testing such as endoscopies, biopsies and blood tests. He has also been prescribed previcid 2x's daily and bethanical 3x's daily. Since that time he has been behaving perfectly but after he started teething he seems irritable and sensitive. The doctor prescribed a neocate medicated formula and said his reflux is probably causing irritability. He has already been on neocate and the specialist said that milk sensitivities are rare and that if it wasn't improving his reflux then we should switch to a normal formula. Since that time, he has been on Simalac and continuing her medication. I don't believe that his reflux could have taken a turn for the worse especially after tests and getting a clean bill of health from the specialist. Could his recent irritability and trouble sleeping be caused by teething? What can I do to help comfort and alleviate some of his discomfort?

Timsy (San Jose, USA)

A: Yes, your guess is correct. His behaviour is probably due to teething. Use any paracetamol syrup like Tylenol to relieve the irritability.

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: My 2 year old son has only seven teeth. While he has milk supplements, he doesn't have milk.He cut his first tooth at sixteen months. Do I need to supplement his calcium intake in some way? His other milestones are normal. In fact, he is a very bright child. What should I do?

Ganga (Pune, India)

A: Slow teething is not a problem at all, and might be related to slow teething in either of the parent. It is absolutely OK if he does not drink any milk, as long as he is having other milk products. He does not need any calcium supplements; he just needs a proper balanced diet.

Dr. Gajendragadkar

Q: My daughter is teething. There are indications that her first tooth may be due this week. The gums are slightly swollen. There are plenty of medicines available for easy teething. Are these advisable? Can they prevent diarrhoea?

Parikshit (Chandigarh, India)

A: There is no need to give your child any medication for teething. Get a few teething toys for your child, so she can chew on them to sooth irritated gums. These should suffice.

Dr. Balasubramanian

Q: I think my son is teething. He is not eating at all! What should I do?

Chamaili (Katra, India)

A: There is nothing one can do about it. Be patient.

Q: My daughter broke her front tooth due to a fall. The tooth came out along with the root. I had shown her to the dentist who said that since the tooth had come out as a whole there was no reason to worry. There is a hole where the tooth used to be, in the gums. Will this fill up, and when? Also in view of this accident what precautions must I take to make sure that her other teeth do not get affected?

Gayatri (Mumbai, India)

A: There is no need to worry. Follow the advice of your dentist. There is no diet your daughter is required to follow. Just relax.

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: My son was a caesarean, and 25 days premature. He has a hole on his palette, and so couldn't breast feed. What is the best alternative to breast milk? Is there any cure for this hole?

Andrea (Cancun, Mexico)

A: I presume your son has got a 'cleft palate'. If you consult an orthodontist, he would be able to provide you with a 'prosthesis' (special teats), which can be used to seal the hole in the palate. Surgical intervention is the only cure. A hole in the palate might affect the speech development, so the operation should be done before he starts to speak. I think he should be operated upon as soon as he turns one. Please consult other plastic surgeons as well for a second opinion. Give your child bottle milk if he cannot breast feed. Make sure you sterilise the bottle well.

Dr. Balasubramanian

Q: My daughter is teething. She has to stop eating. Will it affect her health later? Should I restrict her physical activities?

Madhusudan (Mumbai, India)

A: Your daughter's weight is more than satisfactory. Children normally quadruple their birthweight by the age of 2. Just let her be. Let her play and run around as much as she likes.

Dr. Balasubramanian

Q: My son is 15 months old and has not yet started teething. Should we be concerned?

Lisa (Montreal, Canada)

A: There is no need to worry as some children start teething a little later than others. Just give it more time. Your child will definitely grow teeth. Relax.

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: My son's stool colour is green. Otherwise the consistency seems fine, and he passes stool once a day. Is this okay? Should we give him medication? Is this change in colour due to teething?

Prakash (Bangalore, India)

A: Teething has nothing to do with stools. If he is straining while opening his bowels and if the stools are hard then he is suffering from constipation. But the good thing is that he is opening his bowels regularly. Just make sure he is drinking plenty of fluids and eating lots of vegetables and fruits, especially bananas. This will soften the stools. If the stools are not watery or smelly and do not contain any white mucous, then don't be bothered about the colour. His weight seems to be satisfactory.

Dr. Balasubramanian

Q: My year old daughter is teething but her appetite has reduced. Is this normal? Is there something we can do to increase her appetite?

Piya (New Delhi, India)

A: This is totally normal. Just be patient. Her appetite will normalise gradually.

Dr. Subba Rao

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