Home Care Instructions : CHILD DENTAL CARE

Types Of Teeth

Each tooth is a living part of body containing nerves and blood vessels. The part that is visible in the mouth is the crown and the longer portion anchored inside the gum and the bone is the root.

If you see the internal parts of the tooth, the outermost hardest white cover is known as the enamel. The inner relatively less hard is the dentin. It surrounds the pulp containing blood vessels and nerves of the tooth. The pulp tissue is connected to the circulatory and nervous system via a foramen at the apex of the tooth. Surrounding the roots, which are also made up mainly of dentin, there is a thin bone like layer called cementum. The jawbone is connected with cementum through a shock-absorbing membrane, the periodical ligament.

There are four different types of teeth in human beings. They vary in shape and size according to their particular function.

  • Incisors: They are front teeth, four in the upper arch and four in the lower arch. They are shaped to bite and cut food into small pieces.
  • Canines: They are conical teeth at the corner of the mouth. Their function is to tear or shred food.
  • Premolars: These are two on each side of both the jaws just behind the canines. These teeth have two cusps and the function is to hold and crush the food.
  • Molars: They are three in number on each side of the jaws and have bigger chewing surfaces for cutting food into smaller particles.

There are two sets of teeth:

  • Deciduous - The first to appear are Milk Teeth and are helpful to the child not only in terms of chewing but also in providing guidance to the developing jaw and permanent dentition. The first milk tooth appear at about 6 months of age and then subsequently all 20 teeth erupt up to two and half years. The milk dentition has 2 incisors, one canine and 2 molars on each side of the jaw that makes 5 teeth on each side and a total of 20 teeth in the mouth. The milk teeth are lighter in color as compared to permanent teeth.
  • Permanent - At six years of age, natural shedding of milk teeth and the eruption of permanent teeth begins which continues till the age of 12 years. The first permanent molar erupts at six years just behind the milk teeth on all four sides of the jaw. At this time the milk teeth start falling and permanent teeth start replacing them. Subsequently most of the permanent teeth erupt till 12 years of age. The second molars erupt behind the first molar at about 12-13 years and the third and last molar (wisdom teeth) erupts between 18-25 years. The permanent teeth are larger and darker in color as compared to milk teeth. There are two incisors, one canine, two pre-molars and three molars making eight teeth in each quadrant and a total of thirty-two in permanent dentition.

First Dental Visit

When your child is about a year old, its time he or she sees a dentist. Early visits can prevent minor problems from becoming major ones, and even though you are checking your child’s teeth, you may not recognize a problem. Don’t wait until there is a decayed or injured tooth to introduce your child to a dentist; make the first visit a positive one.

  • Familiarize your child with the dentist and dental office by taking him or her along with you; letting your dentist know in advance allows time for them to get acquainted.
  • Be low key about the visit; your child has no reason to be afraid unless its suggested.
  • Your child may enjoy a “ride” in the dental chair; perhaps your dentist will use the dental mirror to show your child his or her teeth.
  • Take cues from the dentist who’s experienced at dealing with children, and don’t expect perfect behaviour from your child.

Infant Dental Care

Children are the future of any country. Keeping our young ones free from diseases will give us a healthy, progressive generation in future. The expectant females and mothers should be informed and educated regarding following:

  • Importance of Nutrition: Well balanced diet for expectant mothers for proper development and growth of the body as well as healthy teeth and gums.
  • Not to take any medicine without consulting a qualified doctor. They must always inform the health care provider about the pregnancy, so that any medicine, which can have adverse effect on baby. Certain medicines, especially if taken in the first three months of pregnancy, can cause malformation of face, jaws and teeth.
  • When born, bay’s mouth is free from bacteria. The germs are transferred into the baby’s mouth from parents during cuddling and kissing. It is important for parents to keep their own mouth clean and avoid kissing on baby’s mouth. Also sharing of spoons and utensils etc. should be avoided as far as possible.
  • It has been observed that milk bottle is the major cause of early childhood caries. Therefore, mothers should be encouraged to breast feed the baby for the 1st year and then directly use cup or spoon feeding rather than using nursing bottle.
  • After every feed the child should be given a sip of water to clear residual milk from the mouth and hold the child upright thereafter for five to ten minutes.
  • The mothers should clean the gum pads and the tongue of the infants with clean, wet, soft cotton cloth after every feed. A clean/ boiled soft cotton cloth is wrapped around index finger and then the upper and lower gum pads should be cleaned in single sweeping motion. After this, the position of the cloth should be changed and tongue should be cleaned in a sweeping motion.
  • When first erupt in the mouth of a child, use of a soft baby tooth brush must be started.
  • At the time of tooth eruption, children get itching sensation in their gums and tend to put different objects such as toys etc. into their mouth. These habits lead to various infections and frequently result in diarrhoea. Mothers should keep a close watch on the child’s activities during this time. Fruits and rusks etc. can be given during this time to help in reducing irritation and development of chewing habits.
  • It is very important to take care of milk teeth since healthy, decay-free milk teeth create a healthy environment for the permanent teeth and guide its eruption in proper position.

Nursing Bottle Caries

In case of children, when bottle-feeding is done for prolonged periods and at night, a special pattern of dental caries occurs. In this disease, there is a fast destruction of upper front and lower back teeth sparing lower front teeth because they are covered with tongue during feeding. This particular pattern of dental decay is called as Nursing Bottle Caries. This condition requires early and proper treatment otherwise it may lead to to many other problems and may cause abscess or swelling in the oro-facial region.


Many malocclusions are caused by an imbalance in the pressure of the muscle systems that are guiding the teeth into position or holding them into positions where they belong. Bad habits may cause this imbalance and therefore it is necessary to recognize these bad habits.

Tips to recognize bad habits

  • Lip Biting - Chapped lips, lower lips larger.

  • Tongue thrusting - Muscle over chin wrinkle when child swallows.

  • Finger nail biting - No need to cut nails.

  • Cheek Biting - Swollen flap of tissue on inside of cheek.

  • Tooth grinding - Grinding sound at night when child is asleep.

  • Finger biting - Callus on finger.

  • Thumb Sucking - A clean thumb after age of two.

  • Mouth Breathing - More obviously seen at sleep times.

If your child has any above habits contact your dentist, as he may be able to help your child ward off these habits.

Good Food Habits

A balanced diet will help make sure your child has healthy teeth. Your child’s diet should be rich in calcium as that helps to make teeth stronger.


  • Regular Meals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Cereals
  • Dairy Products


  • Eating In Between the meals.
  • Chocolates.
  • Chips & Wafers.
  • Sticky Food.
  • Aerated Cold Drinks e.g. Pepsi

Tips for healthy teeth

  • Brush and Floss daily.
  • Get regular fluoride treatments.
  • Visit your dentist regularly
  • Eat a good diet.
  • Protect your child’s teeth with Sealants.


What are Sealants?

Sealants are a safe, painless and low cost way to protect your child’s back teeth from decay. A thin layer of sealant is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny growers in the teeth and causing decay.

Why should children have Sealants?

The chewing surfaces of back teeth have tiny grooves that form as each tooth develops. This is where most decay occurs in children. This is because the bristles of the toothbrush cannot clean the food and bacteria trapped within the grooves. Which teeth to be sealed? Usually premolars and permanent molar surfaces are sealed.

Right Age for Sealants.

Between 6 to 14 years of age.

How are Sealants Applied?

  • Step 1 - The teeth are cleaned, dried and etched with a gel so that sealants can adhere.
  • Step 2 - The Sealant is painted on the tooth surface and then hardened with a special light.
  • Step 3 - The Sealant is carefully checked to see that all grooves are covered and that the Sealant does not interfere with chewing.

Follow Up

The dentist or hygienist will look at the Sealants at regular dental visits. If Sealants chip or fracture, which is rare, they can be easily replaced.

Prevention of Oro-Facial Trauma in Children

The children are quite prone to trauma of oral and facial region. The most common causes are fall, hit during playing, cycling and roadside accidents, Sometimes, a small negligence can lead to serious accidents, hampering quality of life of the child and family. Taking care of few small things can avoid many major and minor mishaps.

  • Child should always be helped when he/she is learning to walk during 1 ½ to 3 years of age.
  • When child is learning cycling, it should be supported.
  • Instruct children not to keep hand in the pocket while climbing/coming down from the stairs.
  • Road rules should be taught and followed strictly when they are growing.
  • Excessively proclined teeth should be corrected by Orthodontic treatment.
  • Special oral screens and occlusal splints can be fabricated by Dental Surgeons for children or young adults, who participate in athletic/sports events to reduce injuries to the dental and facial region.



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