The oral health of each and every one of us is a fundamental aspect which impacts everyday life, however, with children in particular, this concept is even more relevant. Children are often referred to as blank slates; as they mature and begin to navigate the world, they will imitate what’s been instilled in them through their surrounding environment.
To ensure a child maintains a healthy and happy smile, one must understand the importance of every child’s oral health and development, and the expectations new parents or guardians will be tasked with through their child’s growth and changes.
A Child’s Developing Smile
It may be surprising to learn that the foundation of the teeth actually form while a child is still developing within the womb, and remain beneath the gums once born. After a few months of life in the real world, a child will experience what’s known as ‘eruption’, or its more common moniker- teething. Associated with irritation and pain, the baby teeth begin to protrude out at different rates unique to predetermined genetics.
Throughout the coming months and even years, the child’s mouth will become more and more populated with their temporary baby teeth until the approximate age of 6 or 7. Afterwards, adult teeth begin to follow the formation of their predecessors and erupt forward, causing baby teeth to loosen and fall out. By no later than 21, the now adult, will boast a smile of 32 permanent adult teeth!
While this is an interim period of a possible two decades, the first few years are undeniably the most crucial! It’s highly encouraged for caretakers to vigilantly monitor their child’s oral development as these early years will set the stage in anticipation of the future smile. It’s professionally recommended to familiarize your child with a dentist once their first tooth is visible, or no later than the age of one!
The Importance of a Child’s Dental Hygiene
The sheer importance of instilling a child with a positive oral care regimen cannot be understated. During the earlier stages of life, children lie vulnerable to particular bacterium within their mouths as their immune system strengthens. This is why it is typical for baby teeth to experience cavities, more serious tooth decay, and even other forms of infections which can spread through other areas of the body if not remedied in time!
Caretakers should do everything in their power to monitor their child’s oral anatomy, communicating any changes or posing any concerns to a trained professional.
With such risk also follows a plethora of potential! Parents and dentists are encouraged to educate children as they mature, enforcing them with the proper knowledge needed to build a robust oral care regimen to carry through the years ahead. While inevitable adolescence will lead to individual choices and habits, the best bet to a smile’s long-term success is introducing important practices as early as possible. Focus on the foundations and building a healthy smile will prove easier, such as; brushing twice a day (especially after meals), flossing, and the danger of placing particular items within the mouth!
If a child is still an infant, it’s recommended to gently wipe their teeth and gums with a clean damp cloth to rid the mouth of any bacteria accumulation. Finally, the most important factor dictating the success of your child’s smile is scheduling and committing to semiannual checkups with a dental professional, ensuring their smile’s development is met alongside a guiding force for good!