December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month. During their first winter, many children will receive teething toys and children with special needs may continue to enjoy them as their second set of teeth come in. There are many safe options available, but parents and other gift-givers may not be aware of how to use them and keep them clean.
The Teething Process
Babies’ first teeth usually start coming in when they are about six months old. Dentists recommend that biannual checkups begin at this point. For the most part, the front bottom teeth come in first, followed by the front upper teeth, with the last of the twenty baby teeth erupting by the time the child is three. Particularly during the early months, children’s gums will be sore and they will seek relief by biting down on whatever objects are available.
Besides cleanliness and choking hazards, the other issues with toy selection are chemical composition and intended use. Children often have a preference for cooler items. Many parents use a chilled washcloth to clean their babies’ gums, which is fine if the washcloth is cleaned after each use. Chilling rubber or silicone toys in the refrigerator is also a way of providing children with something cool to chew on. But toys should never be frozen. They could cause ice burns on a baby’s hands as well as their lips and inside their mouth. Gel fillings in teething rings could crack if frozen, compromising the integrity of the toy.
Some dentists recommend avoiding gel toys out of fear of leakage. But toys could also become sanitation hazards if a baby’s teeth leave difficult-to-clean punctures. It is best to avoid plastics entirely. They’re brittle and may contain the potentially hazardous chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). It is also important to dry out and disinfect squeak toys after each use because water can enter them and allow mold to grow. Don’t allow squeaky toys in the tub. And be aware that plush toys are unsanitary to chew on unless they were designed for that purpose.
For Older Children
Older children are usually less vulnerable to choking hazards, but children on the autism spectrum may still be soothed by pressure on their teeth. Some enjoy chewable jewelry such as non-toxic bracelets and necklaces. Specialty companies offer rubber chew toys that have differently-textured surfaces to provide children with their preferred stimulation. But if misaligned teeth or jaw clenching are a concern, it may be a good idea to try motorized oral tools that will provide stimulation without the need for bite force.
The Dangers of Soda
Over the last few years, the consumption of soda by kids, teens, and young adults has increased dramatically. These days it seems like everybody prefers to drink things that are sugary and acidic. What is important to realize is that these drinks offer no benefits to oral health (or health in general). According to reports the average person drinks around 16 ounces of soda a day which equates to 53 gallons of soda a year. Consuming 53 gallons of liquids filled with acids and sugar will repeatedly expose teeth to sugar, fueling decay.
Harmfulness of Soda on your Teeth
Soda harms teeth by directly exposing them to acid and by feeding acid-producing bacteria. Erosion occurs when acid breaks down tooth enamel, leaving the sensitive dentin layer with less protection. This makes teeth more sensitive to hot and cold, resulting in frequent toothaches. The sugars in soda also allow bacteria to multiply and produce acid as their waste product. This acid gets trapped in plaque…
Dental Care for Children Dental Care for Children Even the smallest teeth need attention and care. Infants will start to teethe at about six months old, and many of the baby teeth will erupt above the gum line by the time the child is one year old. This is why the first dental appointment for your child should take place between their first and second birthdays. A child’s first dental appointment does not typically involve any treatment. Instead, this visit is a wellness check or "chair-ride" for the infant to discuss oral care during development and introduce oral care habits as a routine to keep up with throughout their life.
The First Appointment At the appointment, you can hold your child in your arms while your dentist examines his or her teeth and mouth. You should use this opportunity to discuss your child’s medical history and any issues you’re concerned about. Your dentist will review the child’s teething and tooth development to see that their growth is on track. Your d…