WHY DO CHILDREN’S TEETH DECAY?

 

The thickness of enamel and dentin layers of the deciduous teeth is equal to half of the thickness of enamel and dentin layers of permanent teeth. Deciduous teeth also contain more organic materials than permanent teeth. For this reason, deciduous teeth are more prone to decay than permanent teeth.

 

Children cannot pay attention to oral care as much as adults. It is especially difficult for a small child to clean the teeth. Parents need to train their children about the care and improvment of oral and dental health, by teaching the necessary practices to prevent diseases that may occur and instilling convenient behaviors and habits for this purpose. Children cannot perceive symptoms such as heat and cold sensitivity and minor pain in the early stages of tooth decay. However, they become aware of it when a severe toothache occurs, which may be too late.

 

The child is mainly fed with breast milk and baby food at early ages. At that time, the growth and development of the baby are more important for the family. Parents feed their babies by adding sugar or honey to milk or baby food during sleeping, with the thought that the baby will be better fed. In addition, the pacifier and baby bottle are dipped in honey or jam and given to the baby. Such applications cause the formation of baby bottle decays in children.

 

IS IT POSSIBLE TO PREVENT THE TOOTH DECAY?

 

Today, a vaccine or drug that can prevent the formation of tooth decay has not been developed yet. However, there are applications to reduce the formation of tooth decay and to protect the tooth surface from decaying. The first application to reduce the formation of tooth decay and protect the tooth surface from decaying is to strengthen the tooth surface by adding fluoride. During the formation of the tooth, fluoride can be added to the structure of the enamel. In this way, enamel becomes more resistant to acids.

 

There are two ways to intake fluoride. The first is the local application of it. Local fluoride application can be done in two ways. The second is the systemic application of fluorine.

 

Professional Fluoride Application: It is the practice of the dentist herself. It occurs by applying certain substances containing fluoride to the teeth.

Fluoride Application to Your Own:

Fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthwashes can be used.

The other way for fluoride intake is by systemic administration of fluoride. Systemic use of fluoride is achieved by the use of fluoride tablets or fluoridated drinking water. For the use of systemic fluoride, the dentist or pediatrist should be consulted.

Sealants-fissure sealants are other applications to reduce the formation of tooth decays. There are dents  and bulges on the chewingsurfaces of the teeth, called fissures. Tooth brushing is not effective enough in fissures. By applying special materials that we call fissure sealants, tooth decays can be prevented by covering the fissures. Thanks to the fissure sealant application, the bacteria will produce acid, but will not reach the tooth by passing through the fissure sealant. Fissure sealant application is very important for preventive dentistry.

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF DECIDUOUS TEETH?

 

Many people don’t pay attention to the deciduous teeth with the idea that they will change anyway. A total of 20 deciduous teeth erupt  to perform some roles until the child reaches the age of 12-13.

 

The first role of milk teeth; to provide the preparation of nutrients for digestion. Deciduous teeth help the development of the jaws by performing the chewing function. By the function of chewing muscles, the proportional development of the jaws is ensured.

The deciduous teeth protect the underlying permanent tooth bud against external factors such as trauma, which is common in children.

Deciduous teeth are effective in speaking and phonation. Proper development of speaking depends on the presence of deciduous teeth.

The deciduous teeth protect the area they occupy for the permanent tooth that will follow them and guide them while the permanent teeth are being erupted.

Finally, the deciduous teeth have an aesthetic function. Teeth make a great contribution to the appearance of the human. When the child is 6-7 years old, she/he deems it normal to lose the frontal teeth, since she/he observes the same in other children, too. However, psychological problems may occur in early deciduous tooth losses.

SHOULD THE DECIDUOUS TEETH BE TREATED?

 

The deciduous tooth period and the following mixed tooth period (deciduous teeth-permanent teeth) coincide with the period in which development is most active. The determination of the adult body occurs during this period. For this reason, just as it is necessary for young people and adults to have continuous tooth arrangement, the deciduous teeth in the first phases of development are important evenly, too. Many problems will occur if the deciduous teeth are not treated.

 

Even the superficial tooth decays in the primary teeth threaten the adjacent teeth with the danger of decaying.

If the tooth decay in the deciduous tooth progresses and reaches the nerve of the tooth and causes inflammation in time, it may affect the permanent teeth from that will grow from under and cause various disorders.

If the deciduous teeth are extracted early, the adjacent teeth will slide into the extraction gap and the gap closes in such a way that the permanent tooth coming from under cannot fit, and crowding occurs.

Decayed teeth cause bad breath and make the child unable to chew with the side of the decayed tooth.

Decayed deciduous teeth may cause the child tofacewith the pain at an early age and may cause some phobias in the future.

WHAT IS BABY BOTTLE DECAY?

 

Artificial milk or breast milk, which is the most important nutrient in baby nutrition, naturally contains sugar. In addition, since the development of the baby is at the forefront for the family at that time, sugar or honey is added to the milk or baby food with the idea that it will be fed better. If the baby sucks breast milk or a baby bottle before going to bed at night, the milk or baby food will accumulate in the mouth and stay in contact with the teeth for a long time. Due to the sugarit contains, this long-time contact results in a suitable environment for tooth decay. Special attention should be given to the oral hygiene of the baby after feeding before sleep. It will be appropriate to drink water after feeding.

 

To prevent the formation of baby bottle decay;

 

Prevent your baby’s habit of sleeping with a baby bottle at night.

Do not add sweeteners such as honey or sugar into the baby food or artificial milk. Also, do not give the pacifier to the baby by dipping it into honey or jam.

After feeding your baby, clean the mouth with a clean piece of cloth.

Make your baby drink water after feeding.

To reduce tooth decay in your child;

 

Help her while brushing the teeth. Teeth should be brushed twice a day under the supervision of an adult, after breakfast and before going to bed.

Take your child to the dentist at an early age and have a fissure sealant applied to his teeth to prevent decays.

Pay attention to the use of baby bottles to prevent the formation of baby bottle decay.

Enable your child to take fluoride. Make use of possible sources, drinking water, fluoride tablets, fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes and fluoride treatment by the dentist. However, since the excessive use of fluoride is harmful, be sure to consult your dentist or pediatrist.

Children usually enjoy eating snacks between meals. The sugar and starch taken at these snacks nourish the bacteria that cause decay. Therefore, you should make sure that your child’s meals are regular in order to prevent decay formation.

WHEN SHOULD THE FIRST DENTAL EXAMINATION IN CHILDREN BE PERFORMED?

 

The first dentist examination is a step in the life of the child since it is the first time the child meets the dentist. In the past, it was thought that the first dentist examination should be performed after all the deciduous teeth have been erupted, that is between the ages of 2.5-3. However, according to the new literature information, it is accepted that the first dentist examination should be done at an average age of 1 year since children may experience baby bottle decays at a very early age. In this way, both the white apron phobia does not occur in child, and the parents can be given useful information about the child’s oral and dental health and nutrition.

 

Advices for Parents:

 

The child should be taken to the dentist at an early age so that she can meet the dentist before having problems.

The dentist should not be used for the purpose of punishment.

Bribe should not be given when taking the child to the dentist.

The child should not be promised about the applications that will be conducted by dentist by saying “the dentist will not do” etc.

The child should not be mocked to overcome her fear.

Parents should not make their fears clear in front of the child.

The applications that will be performed can be explained to the child a few days before going to the dentist.

FISSURE SEALANTS

 

There are dents and bulges called fissures on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. The places where the decays begin are generally the fissures. Fissure sealants are transparent or white colored fluids applied to fissures to prevent tooth decay.

 

How the Fissure Sealants Prevent Decays?

Although your child regularly conducts oral care every day, it is not possible to achieve full cleaning of the dents and bulges on the teeth. Food residues and bacteria settle in these narrow areas and threaten the teeth with decays. Since the fissure sealants are fluid, they reach the deepest point of these dents and block these areas. Thus, bacteria cannot reach these areas and the formation of decays is prevented.

 

To Whom and To Which Teeth the Fissure Sealant Is Applied?

The fissure sealant can be applied to any tooth with fissures on it, it has no risk. Fissure decays occur more and easier in children and youth. For this reason, the fissure sealant is usually applied to large molars with the highest risk of tooth decay in children whose permanent teeth have recently erupted.

 

How is the Fissure Sealant Applied?

Fissure sealant application is a quick and comfortable procedure. Since no abrasion is performed on the tooth, the application of the fissure sealant is painless and takes a short time, it is done in only one session.

 

Is Fissure Sealant Application Expensive?

Fissure sealant is cheaper than dental filling. Given that the fissure sealant will protect the tooth from decays, it is a very economical treatment.

 

How Long Does the Fissure Sealant Stay in The Mouth?

Fissure sealants are substances that can corrode by the time. However, research has shown that the fissure sealant remains in the mouth for many years without abrasion. Very hard foods and grinding habits can cause the fissure sealant to break or fall quickly. With regular dentist checks, fractures or falls in the fissure sealants are detected on time and the necessary action is taken. Fissure sealant is an application that is only aimed to prevent the formation of decays. If your child does not care about oral care, no method including fissure sealant can prevent decay formation.

 

PLACE HOLDERS

 

Deciduous teeth fall as a result of the melting of the roots by the pressure of the permanent teeth coming from the bottom. However, sometimes the deciduous teeth may be prematurely lost due to an impact or extraction because of decay. When the deciduous tooth is lost prematurely, the teeth on both sides bend towards the extraction cavity and the teeth at the opposite jaw extend into this cavity. As a result of the premature loss of the deciduous tooth, the distance required for the permanent tooth coming from the bottom is lost, and crowding occurs in them.

 

In case of premature loss of teeth, apparatus called place holders are used to maintain the position of the permanent tooth coming from below. The place holders prevent the adjacent teeth from moving into the extraction cavity and keep them remain stable. Thus, the formation of crowding in the permanent teeth is prevented. The place holders are passive apparatuses and they do not apply force to the teeth in any way.

 

Place holders are applied in two ways.

 

Fixed Place Holders:

Fixed place holders are used in the absence of a single tooth. As the name suggests, it is fixed, the patient cannot remove it.

Removable Place Holders:

Removable place holders:

They are used in the absence of more than on deciduous teeth. The patient can clip and remove the apparatus.

TEETHING

 

The first tooth comes out on average at 7 months. However, some children have early teething and some others have late. This has no medical significance. Genetic factors have been found to be effective at the time of tooth eruption. The average times for eruption of deciduous teeth is shown below.

 

 

 

DENTAL DEVELOPMENT

DEXTERITY

DEVELOPMENT

4 – 24

MONTH(S)

The first tooth appears approximately in the 4th month.
The parents perform brushing.
Toothbrush suitable for the  parents are designed.

2 – 4

YEAR(S)

By the end of this period, all deciduous teeth would have erupted.
The children try to brush their own teeth, but the parents are needed to help.
The animated cartoon characters that attract children’s attention are suitable for this phase.

5 – 7

YEAR(S)

First permanent molar teeth erupt, and the deciduous teeth fall.
The parents supervise the children while they are brushing their own teeth.
The animated cartoon characters that attract children’s attention are suitable for this phase.

 

 

What Happens While Teething?

Indications of teething may appear 1-2 month(s) priorly. These indications vary from child to child. However, babies usually have the following indications during teething.

 

Salivation:

During the teething period, the salivation of the baby increases. Redness and cracks may occur due to irritation caused by saliva contact around the jaw or mouth.

 

Biting:

A teething baby tries to comfort her gingiva by putting everything she/he finds into her/his mouth.

 

Pain:

Inflammation of the gingiva develops due to the pressure that occurs during tooth eruption. This can cause pain in some babies. As inflammation increases, the pain becomes consistent, which causes the baby to have discomfort.

In addition, the baby may have some indications such as refusing to eat, insomnia, diarrhea, and fever.

 

To reduce the indications of teething;

 

You can give the baby cold things to chew. This aims to relieve the pressure on the gingiva.

The baby can be given something to scratch her teeth. Cold food and drinks will attract your baby’s attention more than the ones at room temperature.

If these applications are not sufficient, you can use a suitable medicine by consulting your doctor.