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 upto 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 colour 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) erupt between 18-25 years. The permanent teeth are larger and darker in colour 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.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Baby Bottle Syndrome, or Nursing Bottle Mouth are all terms used to describe a dental condition, which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child.
The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth. They are some of the first teeth to erupt and thus have the longest exposure time to the sugars in the bottle. The lower front teeth tend to be protected by the tongue as the child sucks on the nipple of the bottle or the breast.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is caused by frequent exposure of a child’s teeth for long periods of time to liquid containing sugars. When your baby falls asleep with:
- a bottle containing formula, milk or juice
- a pacifier dipped in honey
- while breast feeding
The liquid pools around the front teeth. During sleep, the bacteria living in every baby’s mouth, turns the milk sugar or other sugars to acid, which causes the decay.
Parents may not know there is a problem until serious damage has been done:
- Oral checks should be performed by parents to detect early signs of the disease.
- Brown spots along the gumline on your child’s teeth are signs which should alert you.
- If your child prefers soft foods, frowns or cries when eating cold, sweet, or hard foods, they should be checked for tooth decay.
By the time tooth decay is noticed it may be too late and crowns, pulp therapy, or even extraction of the decayed teeth may be necessary. As a result, your child may suffer from long term disorders, which include speech impediments, possible psychological damage, crooked or crowded teeth, and poor oral health.
- You can prevent this from happening to your child’s teeth by learning how to protect them.
- Clean your child’s teeth daily
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle filled with juice, milk, or formula (or when awake, sip on it for long periods of time as a pacifier)
- Start bottle weaning by at least a year
- Give your child plain water for thirst
- Make sure your child gets the fluoride needed to prevent decay
- Have regular dental visits for your child beginning when their first tooth erupts
Tip: Cut back on sugary bottles by gradually watering them down until they are only water.
Most children begin life with strong, healthy teeth. Help your child’s teeth stay that way. Your newborn is totally dependent upon you as a parent. The decisions you make will have a vital effect on your child’s dental future.
Oral Hygiene Information for Your Child
Should I clean my baby's teeth?
Definitely. Even before the first tooth appears, use a soft, clean cloth to wipe your baby's gums and cheeks after feeding. As soon as the first tooth appears, begin using a small, soft bristled tooth brush to clean the tooth after eating. Don't cover the brush with toothpaste. Young children tend to swallow most of the toothpaste, and swallowing too much fluoridated toothpaste can cause permanent spots on their teeth called dental fluorosis.
I find brushing my child's teeth awkward. Any suggestions?
Try having your child lie down. Put your child on your lap or on the floor, keeping his/her head steady with your legs. If your child is standing, have his/her back to you with their head tilted slightly and resting against your body. Have your child hold a mirror while you brush and floss their teeth so your child can see what is being done.
Is it important to brush before bed?
Yes. If you have to miss a brushing, the bedtime one is probably the worst one to miss. If you don't get rid of the bacteria and sugar that cause cavities, they have all night to do harm. While you are awake, saliva helps keep the mouth clean. When you are asleep, there is less saliva produced to clean the mouth. For this reason it is important to brush before bedtime.
How to brush your child's teeth?
Every day plaque forms on the inner, outer, and chewing surface of teeth and the gums. Tooth brushing is one of the most effective ways to remove the plaque.
The best kind of toothbrush to use is one with soft, round-tipped bristles. A child will need a smaller brush than an adult.
When the bristles become bent or frayed, a new brush is needed. Start flossing your child's teeth when the teeth touch each other and you can no longer brush in between them.
We recommend a first checkup by 12 months old to make certain that teeth and jaw development are normal, and even more importantly so that parents and guardians know how to help their children be healthy from the start.
Guidelines for working with children
- Parents / guardians are always welcome in the room
- Comfort is always our concern
- Parent / guardian consent and guidance are vital, before any procedure
There is a significant value for early well baby dental checkups. In particular, checkups for very young children address many concerns including teaching adults how to care for their child's teeth and gums, how to help their children learn to care for themselves, answering parents questions and concerns, and planning for future dental health.
Education and prevention are the cornerstones of our concern for the dental health of children. In addition to teaching parents and guardians about dental care for their child, checkups are an appropriate time to comfortably and easily evaluate:
- How many teeth are present
- Are all teeth present
- loose teeth if any
- Braces / bite evaluation
- Cavity check
- Check health of gums ? habit evaluation
- Homecare / prevention
- Fluoride use
- Review diet
- Address adult's concerns
- Teach adults how to care for child's teeth
Home Dental Care Tips