Children 's first (milk) teeth are important because, apart from being needed for chewing and speaking, they help to maintain space for the permanent teeth, developing underneath them in the jaws.

If the milk teeth are well looked after, then it is more likely that the second (permanent) teeth will grow into their correct position.

Did you know that babies in utero have about 20 teeth already developing? Children's teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 but usually at 6-7 months, the first milk teeth to erupt are the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors.
Although 20 milk teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and order of their eruption varies.
The first permanent tooth is usually one of the four sixyear- molars –so named because they appear around age 6. Molars are important because they help shape the lower.

A word of caution : The 6 year permanent molars are often mistaken as milk teeth & neglected.
Permanent second molars usually appear around age 12. At that time, your child will have a complete set of teeth except for the wisdom teeth or third molars which usually appear between age 17 and 25.
Special attention should be paid to your child's teeth during the teen years, as it is during these years that most decay occurs.

When should I start caring for my child's teeth ?
Good dental health is established early in life. Oral care should begin soon after the baby's birth. Gums should be cleaned after each feeding. You can begin brushing your child's teeth as soon as they appear, using a super soft toothbrush.

When should I take my child to see the dentist ?
Ideally, your child's first dental visit should be by the first birthday. Your Dentist will check for decay and other problems, teach you how to clean your child's teeth and identify your child's fluoride needs. By starting dental visits early, you

Is teething painful?
Yes. When babies are teething they often have sore and tender gums.The pain usually can be soothed by gently rubbing the baby's gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze. Teething does not cause fever or diarrhoea. If your child has an elevated temperature, it needs to be addressed as a separate medical concern.

Can babies get cavities?
Yes. Even though they will eventually fall out, milk teeth can get cavities and may need to be treated. As soon as teeth appear in the mouth, decay can occur. One serious form of decay among young children is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Babies shouldn't fall asleep with bottles in their mouths – the sugar in juices or milk formulas can cause tooth decay, leading to cavities, dental discomfort, and even tooth loss. Plain water is usually best.

When should thumb sucking stop?
Sucking is a natural behaviour for babies. Many infants begin sucking their thumbs or using pacifiers within three months of birth. Neither habit generally poses a dental problem if it is discontinued before the child's first permanent teeth erupt.

How can the dentist protect your child's teeth ?
As a child's permanent teeth erupt, the Dentist can prevent cavities from forming with the help of sealant s and f luor ide treatment. Sealants are a safe, painless and low-cost way to help protect your child's teeth from decay. The sealant is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars, and thus prevents these teeth f rom dec ay. Fluor ide application is a single sitting procedure done once every six months to make the tooth structure stronger and prevents cavities.

What are space maintainers?
A milk tooth usually stays in until a permanent tooth underneath pushes it out and takes its place. Unfortunately, some children lose a milk tooth too soon. If this happens, the teeth beside it may move into the empty space resulting in lack of space for the permanent teeth, leading to crowding. This can be prevented by the use of Space Maintainers. It is more affordable – and easier on your child – to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with orthodontic treatment.

Dental Health Tips
With your help, your child can have a lifetime of healthy smiles !

» A balanced diet is important for healthy teeth and gums. Children especially need     calcium to help build strong teeth (milk, cheese, etc.).
» Discourage sugary or starchy snacks.
» To support a large filling when there isn't enough tooth remaining.
» Set regular snack-times to avoid constant exposure to cavity-causing foods.
» Seek early dental care for your young one . Begin oral hygiene when an infant's     first tooth emerges.
» Encourage good oral health and hygiene habits early. Have youngsters brush     frequently with fluoride toothpaste.

Teaching your child to maintain good dental habits is the beginning of good dental health. Proper personal care and regular visits to the Dentist can keep dental problems to a minimum.

Brushing Technique
1. Holding the toothbrush at a 45 angle, brush in short up and down motions on     the outer surface of the teeth. Do not scrub sidewards.
2. To brush the inside of the front teeth, use gentle up and down strokes with the     head of the brush.
3. Use back and forth motions for chewing surfaces.

Wouldn’t you want a healthy
smile for your child ?