The journey to healthy teeth is also projected from childhood. Learn how to identify signs of cavities or oral diseases that should be treated early.
Johanna Chavarriaga Rosero, specialist in Pediatric Dentistry
Much of an adult’s oral health also corresponds to the care they have had since early childhood. The first two and a half years of a child’s life can be extremely important for their permanent teeth. That is why this period of time is referred to by specialists as the “golden period.”
Johanna Chavarriaga Rosero, specialist in pediatric dentistry from the Universidad Javeriana and member of the Colombian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (Academia Colombiana de Odontología Pediátrica), indicates that this period of time “is a phase of plasticity that extends from conception to two years of age, where many changes can occur as a result of stimuli, such as diet or lifestyle.”
Therefore, it is essential to teach parents and caregivers to constantly evaluate the oral health of children from birth. One recommended technique is lift the lip, an oral evaluation strategy to assess the condition of the first groups of teeth that break through. This way it is possible to identify signs of cavities or other problems such as abscesses, injuries, extra or missing teeth.
Chavarriaga explains that cavities usually begin as white spots, which usually appear close to the gum. That is the first indication that the tooth is losing minerals and becoming porous. A monthly evaluation by parents can help identify changes and act on them early.
“It has been proven that permanent teeth can be affected when infections occur in children’s teeth. Permanent teeth can also be affected when there are traumas to the baby teeth, also called milk teeth, since they serve as a guide for the permanent ones,” states the specialist.
Always use toothpaste
Although the amounts should clearly be much less, toothpaste should always be used when brushing a child’s teeth from the time the first tooth breaks through. Chavarriaga recommends using fluoride toothpaste of at least 1,000 ppm (parts per million), at least twice a day, as three times is ideal.
“From the time the first tooth breaks through until the first eight front teeth have developed, an amount similar to half a grain of rice should be used. When the teeth are complete, the size of a lentil should be used,” states the pediatric dentist.
According to the World Health Organization, a child under the age of two should not consume sugars, and breastfeeding is recommended until the child is at least two years old. The invitation is for parents, from the beginning, to become familiar with the natural state of the baby’s mouth to identify anomalies more easily. In addition, it is key to visit the pediatric dentist before the child’s first birthday.
A simple technique within everyone’s reach
- Lift the lip helps parents check the evolution of the teeth at home.
- Cavities and other diseases occur on the surfaces of the teeth, so you must check them frequently to look for changes.
- Opaque white spots near the gum are an indicator of deterioration. If left unattended, brown spots may appear.
- Cavities, trauma, fractures, and other conditions in the baby teeth can result in permanent consequences.