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Dental clinic: Monitor your child’s teeth as they grow

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Monitor your children's teeth while they grow 

By Richard Kabanda

Posted  Monday, December 30  2013 at  02:00

Teeth development is one of the vital areas parents should look out for when a child is growing. Good dental make-up of any adult is the result of proper care at childhood. The most critical periods are usually between six to 30 months, and then between seven to 14 years.
Here is a breakdown of what you should know.

Period between six to 30 months
Usually, children start developing teeth at six months and this growth begins in the lower jaw, and later the upper one.
This is when the milk teeth start to show up, and with normal growth, a child develops four milk teeth every six months.
By the time a child is two-and-a-half years old, they have 20 milk teeth in their mouth.
Because the teeth are very sensitive at this stage, keeping good oral hugiene is also crucial, and here is how you can do so.

•Use a clean cloth to wipe your baby’s milk teeth every time they finish breastfeeding or eating anything.
•By the age of two, your child should be able to practice brushing teeth with your guidance or help. In this case, a soft bristled tooth brush is recommended.

•Avoid using fluoridated toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth at an early age. It is said that if children ingest too much fluoride over a long period while their permanent teeth are forming under the gums, they are at risk of developing dental fluorosis, a permanent discoloration of the tooth enamel.
•Initiate your child to develop a culture of eating healthy natural foods, instead of sugary ones such as snacks. This will help your child to grow knowing that sugary foods are bad for teeth.

Five and six years
Usually, the first molars develop at this age. Under normal circumstance, the first molars should develop when all your milk teeth are still intact.

Seven to 14 years
These are crucial years for a child’s teeth development because it is also when they start losing some milk teeth, and start developing permanent ones.
There is a mixture of dentition during this period, and by the time a child is 14 years, they have developed 28 permanent teeth.

It is therefore important for parents to monitor their children’s teeth during this period, as this will help detect any growth anomalies such as wrong alignment early enough.

The writer is a dentist