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A: Thumb sucking is a naturally occurring reflex that provides a sense of warmth, comfort and security to some children. If it occurs in children older than 5 years of age it can interfere with proper growth and development of the upper jaw.
In order to get your child to stop a thumb-sucking habit, do not scold him or her for doing it. Instead, give praise when he or she isn’t doing it, and focus on alleviating the anxiety that makes your child feel the need to thumb-suck.
A pediatric dentist can explain cause and effect to your child in such a way that your child understands the harmful effect and subsequently will be more proactive in stopping the habit.
If your child is still having problems with ending the habit, talk to your pediatric dentist, who can insert an appliance that sits against the roof of your child’s mouth and eliminates the comfort zone that the thumb feels when inside the mouth.
It is very important to maintain the health of baby teeth. Cavities in the baby's dentition will lead to problems that can adversely affect the adult teeth.
Baby teeth not only allow for chewing but also maintain the space needed for the proper position of adult teeth and guide erupting adult teeth into the correct bite. They are also important in the development of speech patterns and create an overall attractive appearance of the child.
In order for a cavity to develop, one must have bacteria, food particles, and an available tooth surface. Preventing cavities is as simple as removing the food source and the bacteria from a susceptible tooth.
Brush your child’s teeth before bedtime, and avoid putting him or her to sleep with fruit juices, sweetened drinks, or milk. If you are breast-feeding, use a wet washcloth to wipe the milk residue off your child’s teeth after every feeding.
If your child is too young to spit out all of his or her toothpaste, then it is important to use a toothpaste that does NOT contain fluoride.
At a very young age, the adult teeth begin to form and harden within the jawbones. If children under the age of four ingest fluoridated toothpaste, the adult teeth may be affected by a condition called “fluorosis”. Fluorosis is seen as a surface change in the outer enamel of the adult teeth, presenting as white spots, discolouration, mottling, or a combination of the above.
To avoid fluorosis, use a non-fluoridated toothpaste until age four, or after you are confident that your child can rinse effectively and spit all residual toothpaste out.
Oftentimes, children will make noise with their teeth during their sleep. Some theories as to why this happens include the stress of new situations in a child’s life and pressure in a child’s inner ear. A child might noticeably grind down their teeth, but in almost all cases no treatment is necessary. The good news is that a huge majority of kids will outgrow grinding.