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Care by Age Group: Fetal Stage to Infancy

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The formation of permanent teeth begins during the fetal stage, and they develop in the jaw over a long period of time. All milk teeth emerge between 8 months to 3 years of age.
In addition, infancy is a period of rapid changes, such as the emergence of milk teeth one after another and the formation of permanent teeth in the jaw.

  • In infancy, the parent should first start by brushing their child’s teeth, and then help them develop the habit of brushing.

Dental and Oral Health and Care during the Fetal Stage

Features of teeth during the fetal stage

Period of tooth formation

Tooth buds, which are the tissue of milk teeth, start to form during about the seventh week of pregnancy. From about the fourth month of pregnancy, substances such as calcium or phosphorus precipitate in the tooth buds (mineralization) to form hard teeth. In addition, a part of the tooth buds for permanent teeth are also formed at about the fourth month of pregnancy.

Precautions

Forming strong teeth

In order to supply sufficient nutrients to a fetus while maintaining the mother’s health, a well-balanced diet is important. The daily requirement for calcium during pregnancy is 1000 mg (600 mg for general adults) and It is the mother’s role to form the foundation of healthy teeth.

Tofu or eggs containing quality protein, milk or small dried sardines containing calcium, cheese or eggs containing phosphorus, carrots or spinach containing vitamin A, cabbage or sweet potatoes containing vitamin C, and fish or eggs served sunny-side up containing vitamin D are examples of foods that develop teeth.

Nutrients that Develop Teeth and Examples of Food Containing Them in Large Amounts

Prone to Caries or Periodontal Disease

During pregnancy, saliva in the mouth tends to be acidic due to changes in hormonal secretions, which make teeth prone to caries.

Be Cautious about Bacterial Infections

Periodontal disease may increase the risk of an underweight newborn or a premature delivery. Although it is ideal to receive dental checkups on a routine basis, but if you do not, it is advised to receive a checkup during a stable period and receive treatment if necessary.

Trivia
“Is it true that pregnancy causes the deterioration of teeth?”

When a woman becomes pregnant, it may become troublesome to move due to awkward heaviness of the body and because dental hygiene including brushing tends to be neglected due to morning sickness. Consequently, plaque accumulates causing unclean conditions. If you have a bad case of morning sickness, it is good to use a smaller toothbrush or to rinse your mouth with mouthwash.

Dental and Oral Health and Care during Infancy

Features of Teeth during Infancy

Period of Frequent Occurrence of Caries in Milk Teeth

Milk teeth start emerging at about 8 months of age, and they will all emerge by about 3 years of age. Two-to-three years afterward, milk teeth are the most prone to caries. In order to prevent caries, ensure that your child receives regular dental checkups and takes preventive measures (fluorine coatings, etc.)

Keep the Mouth Clean

It has become clear that the bacteria that causes caries is transmitted to infants via saliva from their parents. In order to prevent this, it is important for parents to keep their mouth and teeth clean even before a child is born.

How Snacks should be Given

  1. Decide the frequency and times for snacks. Snacks should only be given up to twice a day.
  2. Decide the amount, so as to prevent overeating.
  3. Take care not to give snacks or drinks containing large amounts of sugar.
  4. Instill the habit of brushing after eating in your children.

Instilling the Habit of Brushing

Start brushing your child’s teeth once teething starts. You should start brushing their teeth, although children will be able to brush on their own with practice, this will not be until they are 8 or 9 years old. Until then, it is important for parents to complete the brushing of their child’s teeth until they turn 3 years old and to do a final polishing once they turn 3 years old.

Age How to brush Focus points
1 year old The parent brushes the child’s teeth Removal of plaque along the gum line
2 years old Untrained brushing method (brushing by imitating parents or siblings) + the parent helps to finish the child’s tooth brushing Removal of plaque in the groove in the areas where the molars meet.
3 to 5 years old Practice brushing + final polishing Cleaning between teeth using dental floss

Brushing of Milk Teeth

From 1 -2 years of age: the parent brushes the child's teeth with the child lying on their lap

Lying Down

(When a parent brushes a child’s teeth, the parent should support their head and jaw and lightly pull back the lips, cheeks and tongue.
Particularly, the upper front and back teeth should be brushed carefully, as they are prone to caries.

From 2 - 6 years of age: The parent brushes the child’s teeth after the child brushes on their own

Standing

It is important for the parent to perform final polishing (checkup brushing) not only during infancy but until the child is about 9 years old.

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