child's inherited physical and mental traits govern a child's behaviour pattern
in any situation. As he develops, the conditioning he receives through contact
with his environment also influences his behaviour. Therefore, judicious parent
counseling done primarily at home and secondarily in the dental clinic can
tackle fear (one of the primary emotions of a child) towards dental
As we all know, "an ounce
of precaution is worth a pound of cure". So emphasis should be given to
preventive procedures recognized as effective in reducing the crippling effects
of dental neglect that are often traced to childhood. Dental treatment for the
child should begin early, in the following ways:
Early age dental checkups: The first
dental check-up should start immediately after the first tooth has erupted in
the mouth. This enables the dentist to diagnose dental problems early and treat
them effectively, e.g. a) Dental cavities, b) Congenital anomalies-most common
being Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate, c) Malpositions of teeth requiring orthodontic
Oral hygiene methods and maintenance:
An advisable brushing method is the 'Circular Scrubbing' method done with a
small head, soft, angulated brush with a toothpaste containing fluoride (for
children above the age of 3 yrs.). Brushing twice a day and within 10 minutes
after meals effectively removes plaque and controls plaque and decay formation.
For infants a soft cloth/cotton can be used
Periodic recall visits- It is
important to visit the dentist regularly, at least once in three
Treatment: A treatment procedure utilizing fluoride in the form of
gels, rinses, mouthwashes, and pastes can be done in the dental clinic and at
home under strict dental supervision to prevent dental decay.
Pit and Fissure sealants:
Restorative materials filled in the deep pits and grooves of the teeth prevent
the onset of dental decay.
Space Maintainers: Space maintainers in
the form of bands, loops, partial dentures prevent space loss. This is an
important criterion for guiding the permanent tooth to erupt in place after the
loss of milk teeth. Milk teeth are very important as they maintain the space of
the permanent teeth.
Diet and Nutritional
Maintain a low fat, moderate carbohydrate and high fibre
Avoid snacking in between meals.
Limit your teeth exposure sugar to not more than
5-7 times a day (any meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner or a glass of
sweet milk are all considered to be exposure to
Avoid radiographic exposures (X-rays) for the pregnant
mother and child below 2 years to avoid disruption in the calcification
procedures of teeth.
Avoid intake of tetracycline and other drugs during
pregnancy (especially in the 1st and 3rd trimester) and for the infants for the
first couple of years of life to avoid staining and mottling of
Avoid consumption of foods and water containing excessive
levels of fluoride (especially in endemic areas where water fluoride level is
in excess. e.g. Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat,
Avoid sweet foods before going to sleep at night.
Specially don't allow the child to sleep with the milk bottle in the mouth as
this leads to 'Nursing Bottle Caries' or tooth
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- The Indiaparenting Team