Pediatric Dental Disease

pediatric dental diseasePediatric dental disease is the #1 chronic childhood illness. If left untreated, pediatric tooth decay can lead to devastating consequences that extend beyond dental health. Tooth decay can negatively impact a child’s overall health, inhibit their social development and even compromise growth.

Pain and infection from tooth decay can lead to eating, speaking and learning issues. Pediatric dental disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia and more problems. But tooth decay is preventable. Unfortunately, dental care is an unmet health need of children in the US. This is for many reasons, such as lack of dental insurance.

To find out more about pediatric dental disease and ways that you can make sure your child sees a dentist, read the article here: Facts About Tooth Decay.

Red Flags For Children’s Oral Health

children's oral healthThere are certain conditions that can occur throughout your child’s growth that may be red flags for children’s oral health. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should talk with your dentist so you can get it taken care of.

Baby Bottle Syndrome – This happens when a baby is constantly taking in milk, formula, breast milk, or fruit juice. For instance, if your baby is sleeping with a bottle of liquid during the night.  This allows sugar to remain on the teeth and can encourage bacteria growth and cause tooth decay.

Decayed or Missing Baby Teeth – One of the purposes of baby teeth is to serve as a pattern for placement of permanent teeth. If there are decayed or missing baby teeth, this can result in crooked permanent teeth. If children have crooked permanent teeth they can have trouble chewing as well as trouble maintaining good oral hygiene.

Thumb Sucking – Thumb sucking is a normal activity that provides comfort for an infant. But thumb sucking after permanent teeth have erupted (around five years of age) can create many problems. It can cause shifting in the teeth and may affect speech, and dental hygiene.

Tongue Thrusting – This is a condition where the child presses the tongue against the lips with force that can lead to protrusion of teeth.

Poor Nutrition – Be sure to choose fruits and vegetables for snacks.  Limit sugary, sticky foods that can cause tooth decay. Clean teeth after meals and give your child water as often as possible.

Red Flags For Poor Oral Health In Your Child|Consumer Guide To Dentistry

First Visit To The Dentist

first visit to the dentistWhen it is time for your child’s first visit to the dentist, you may find that they are feeling a bit overwhelmed and intimidated. Any new experience is often scary for a young child. But with the right combination of preparation and communication, you can be sure that your child’s first visit to the dentist will be comfortable and enjoyable. The following are some ways that you can help your child prepare for their first appointment.

Practice – Kids love to use their imagination.  You can role play at home and have a pretend dentist.  Practice counting teeth, brushing, flossing and fluoride. Even let your child be the dentist.

Communicate – Communicate with your dentist about how your child is feeling before the day of the appointment.  This gives them a heads up so they know if your child is particularly shy or anxious.  They can plan ahead and provide extra reassurance.

Fun – Add a little fun to your child’s first appointment by letting them bring their favorite toy or stuffed animal with them.  Find teeth related story books, tv shows or videos that feature some of their favorite characters.

Importance of healthy teeth – Make sure your child knows how important it is to have healthy teeth.  Having a healthy mouth helps your whole body stay healthy.  Explain to them that the dentist is a helper for their teeth and an important part of keeping their teeth strong and healthy into adulthood.

How To Prevent Your Child From Fearing The Dentist Office|Pediatric Dentist of Glen Falls

Worldwide Traditions Of Discarding Baby Teeth

discarding baby teethJust as there are traditions around the world which involve the tooth fairy or tooth mouse, there are traditions worldwide for discarding baby teeth as well. Here are some examples of these traditions:

Throwing teeth

The tradition of throwing away the lost teeth is followed in many nations. This is considered as a symbolic way of encouraging the growth of healthy teeth. Here again, different forms of this tradition can be seen in various countries. In Japan, the upper tooth is thrown straight down to the ground and the lower tooth is thrown up in the air. How the children want their new teeth to grow is represented by the trajectory.

The practice of throwing the lost tooth straight towards the sun is followed in Middle Eastern countries such as Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The children request the sun to send them healthy new teeth in place of the lost ones.

In some countries like Ethiopia, Botswana and Dominican Republic, regardless of whether the lost tooth is from the upper or lower jaw, children throw the tooth on the roof top. According to this custom, people believe that a mouse will collect the tooth from the roof top and send the new strong healthy teeth of a rodent.

Making a ring out of the lost tooth or throwing the teeth over or under the house are some of the traditions followed by children in Austria. Children of Nigeria have a special poem too. While throwing the lost tooth over the attic they recite this poem wherein they request the mice not to eat their lost tooth. People here believe that the new tooth will not grow properly if the mice eat the lost ones.

Special locations for lost teeth

In many parts of Europe, parents ask small children to bury the lost tooth under the ground. According to their customs, this practice will help in the growth of new healthy teeth. Children from Ukraine, recite “Take my old tooth and leave me a new one!” while wrapping the lost tooth in a piece of tissue paper and tucking it away in a dark corner away from sunlight.

In Korea, Vietnam and India, people believe that mice have some role in the growth of the lost tooth. If the lost tooth is from the upper side, then it is placed under the floorboards and if it is from the lower side then it is thrown over the roof top. Similar practice is followed in China. Here small children are asked to place the lost upper tooth at the foot of the bed and lower tooth over the roof top.

Make the event exciting by adapting worldwide traditions

Though you might have your own traditions and practices that you grew up with, adding new traditions could indeed be exciting as well as entertaining for your family. The ordinary Tooth Fairy routine could be made more exciting by adding some cultural practices followed in other nations. Let your children know the various customs followed in other nations.

You could even purchase a copy of the children’s book on Spanish Raton Perez and gift it to your child. Sharing stories about customs and traditions followed in other nations will certainly help alleviate the worries of your small child to a considerable extent.

Time for Some Mystery: Tooth Fairy & Tooth Mouse

tooth fairyIt can be exciting or very traumatic for small children when they start losing their baby teeth. Sometimes the tooth is loose enough that it will fall off very easily, but in some cases it could cause some pain and slight bleeding too. To help ease the worries of their small children and to make the event more exciting for them, parents have associated certain traditions and customs with losing teeth. In English speaking countries, the mystical character of the Tooth Fairy is widely known. But in other nations, across the world, people have their own version of tales and traditions associated with this event so that parents can make the event less dreadful for their children.

Note – The customs and traditions vary widely in different countries. If you could share some additional information about the ones followed in your country, you are most welcome.

Mystical Character – The Tooth Fairy

Placing the lost tooth underneath the pillow is a tradition which is followed in countries like Canada, United States and England. According to the fairy tale, the tooth fairies visit the children at night, purchase the tooth for some coins and use the teeth to build all kinds of things in their fairy land.

The British people are very much familiar with this mythological character, The Tooth Fairy. The concept of this bedtime visitor or tooth collecting mythological character has been around for several centuries. It was in the year 1949, Lee Rogow published the story version as “The Tooth Fairy”.  The tooth collecting fairy is very popular among small children in various other countries such as Australia, Norway, Germany, Ireland, America, Demark and Canada.

It is not that that tooth fairy buys the tooth in exchange for money alone. Sometimes children can also expect to find small toys or other gift items.

Mystical Character – Tooth Mouse

In some countries like Mexico, Guatemala and other Spanish speaking cultures, the fairy that collects teeth is actually a mouse.  A fairy mouse to be precise. Raton Perez, the mystical mouse fairy which Mexican people believe in, actually leaves a few coins in exchange for the tooth which the small children leave under their pillow. In Spain, the mystical mouse fairy is called by the name Ratoncito Perez or Raton de los Dientes.

La Petite Souris, or the little mouse is the fairy tale character which small children of France are familiar with. This tooth mouse leaves small toys and gifts in exchange for the tooth. The White Fairy Mouse which the Scottish people believe in leaves coins in exchange for tooth.

The mystical character, the Tooth Mouse, was known to have existed even before the Tooth Fairy. There has been a mention of this mythological character in the 17th century French story book “La Bonne Petite Souris”. This fairy tale is all about a fairy mouse that takes on an evil king and defeats him. According to this Good Little Mouse story, the mouse knocks down the teeth of the evil king while he is sleeping at night time.

As decades passed by, a new version of the sweet, money bearing mouse developed. Here the mouse would creep in at night time and leave a coin in exchange for the tooth placed under the pillow. France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, Mexico, Morocco, Argentina, Algeria and Venezuela are some of the nations where tooth mouse is very popular.