This is a guest blog contributed by Dr. Manikandan G.R., Junior resident at Government Dental College, Trivandrum. Dr. Manikandan has previously published many research papers as well as articles for newspapers and magazines.
Prevention is better than cure
“A woman has two smiles that an angel might envy, the smile that accepts a lover before words are uttered, and the smile that lights on the first born babe, and assures it of a mother’s love.” – Thomas Chandler Haliburt
A child’s smile costs a lot. A parent is responsible to keep it well lifelong. Like the great Osho pointed out, anyone can become a father or mother, even animals can; but to become a great mom and dad is a bit different because parenting is an art. It sometimes needs a bit of extra effort, that extra edge of knowledge about what to do for your little charm and what not to, when to do it, why it is necessary and so on. The umpteen needs have to be addressed amidst the pandemonium created by the little champion.
Most parents often neglect a child’s dental care thinking that milk teeth don’t need much care as they will be soon replaced by permanent teeth. This is a misconception. A healthy set of milk teeth is needed for a strong healthy set of permanent teeth.
Science has provided a clear understanding that tooth decay is an infectious, transmissible, destructive disease caused by acid-forming bacteria acquired by toddlers from their mothers shortly after their first teeth erupt (generally around six months of age). These findings, combined with data on the occurrence of tooth decay in infants and young children, suggest that true primary prevention must begin in the first to second year of life. This evidence also suggests that particular attention should be paid to the oral health of expectant and new mothers.
In early childhood there is tremendous growth and development of the face and mouth, with dentition-associated disturbances that may require the attention of dental professionals. Other common oral conditions of childhood (in addition to tooth decay) include: gingivitis and mucosal (soft tissue) infections; accidental and intentional trauma; developmental disturbances associated with teething or tooth formation; poor alignment of teeth or jaws; and craniofacial abnormalities (including clefts of the lip and/or palate). Additionally, parents frequently request information on a diverse array of concerns including sucking habits; fluoride usage; tooth alignment; timing and order of tooth eruption; and discolored teeth.