How your child’s teeth develop.

How your child’s teeth develop.

Parents are often concerned about when to start bringing their children to the dentist and if there anything that they should be looking out for. Last month we discussed how the baby teeth develop; today we’ll look at the adult teeth and when a child needs braces.

Childs Teeth

5-6 years

Around this age the lower front adult teeth start coming through. If no adult teeth are through after the age of 8 years then your dentist will probably want to investigate the reason why. Similarly if an adult tooth comes through and the same tooth on the other side hasn’t appeared after 6-9 months then it should be checked out. Sometimes adult teeth start to come through when the baby teeth are still present. This normally does not cause any problems and the baby teeth fall out eventually themselves. Everyone is aware that decay in adult teeth should be avoided by good diet, low amounts of refi ned sugar in the diet, and good tooth brushing. Prevention of decay in baby teeth is also important as losing baby teeth early can lead to lack of space in the mouth for adult teeth and commit the child to a course of orthodontic treatment.

9-10 years

At the age of about 9 years the dentist will start checking the position of the upper adult eye teeth. If they have moved out of line your dentist will discuss ways of encouraging these teeth into the correct position and whether your child my need orthodontic treatment.

11-13 years

During the period of leaving primary school and settling into secondary education your child will through a period of losing the last of their baby teeth and getting the rest of their adult teeth. This is a good time to consider braces as your dentist will have a good idea what the final position of the adult teeth will be.

Why have braces?

The purpose of a brace is to straighten teeth and correct a poor bite, allowing easier cleaning of teeth and gums and also importantly have a more confident smile. In complex cases, braces also can reposition teeth to allow placement of dental implants, crowns and veneers

Girl Braces

What age would I start?

Braces usually are fitted to children who need them about the age of 12-13 years when most, if not all, of the adult teeth are through. Treatment usually lasts 18-24 months and nearly all treatments require the patient to wear a retainer for a period of time after the brace comes off . Most importantly it is essential to bring your child to the dentist at regular intervals not only to make sure that the teeth are decay free but that the teeth are erupting properly giving your child the best possible chance of a happy confi dent smile. So if you think your child need braces, to correct a major or even a minor problem, ask your dentist’s advice and get referred to an orthodontist.

Caring for your teeth

Oral health and your diet are more intrinsically linked than you may imagine and certainly surpass the basics of simply avoiding sugary drinks (although this is obviously a very important aspect of looking after teeth).

So why is diet so important?

Each time you drink or eat anything sugary, your teeth will be under an acid attack. This can happen for up to one hour after you have consumed. It happens because sugar reacts with bacteria in plaque and this produces a harmful acid. This is why it’s important to be very wary of constantly consuming sugary foods.

Tooth wear and erosion can happen with acidic foods and drinks too as it wears away the enamel (which you cannot get back), leaving the dentine uncovered. Aside from making your teeth more sensitive it can also affect the overall look of your teeth, which is where you may end up having to opt for some aesthetic dentistry to help.

What kinds of foods can help?

If your diet is rich in minerals and vitamins then it will make a difference. For example, vegetables and fruit can be a good alternative to processed sugar and could help you reduce your risk of getting gum disease or losing teeth.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is the thing that will lead you towards fillings and even extractions and often affects the appearance of your teeth. Decay occurs when sugar reacts with the bacteria and plaque on your teeth. This forms an acid that attacks the teeth and destroys the enamel. Eventually over a period of time, the tooth enamel breaks down and forms a cavity into the dentine. This is where the tooth can decay more quickly and result in your needing a filling.

What kinds of foods cause tooth decay?

All types of sugars can cause tooth decay including processed sugars and sugars in fruits – so a balanced diet lower in sugary foods will help you to avoid tooth decay.

We all know that some foods and drinks are going to be more acidic than others and are sufficiently acidic to attack your teeth directly. The acidity of any food or drink product can be measured by its ‘pH’ value.The lower the number then the more acidic the product will be. Anything with a pH of lower than about 5.5 can cause tooth erosion. To give you an idea red wine has a pH of 2.0 and orange juice has a pH of 3.9 and so if consumed regularly can seriously damage you teeth.

Do you want to improve your smile this year? Contact us at Dental32 for an initial consultation. We can help with all kinds of problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and more!