The teeth of children and babies

The teeth of children and babies

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The teeth are structures of mineralized tissue that serve to chew food before it reaches the stomach for proper digestion and have an important role in speech and speech.

Apart from the important function they perform cutting, shredding and chewing food, the teeth also work with the tongue and lips to help form sounds and pronounce words.

Their structure, number, and arrangement vary in children and adults. Parents must take care of the health of our children's mouth and teeth from the beginning, and the first care should start already in pregnancy. In the mother's diet during gestation, calcium, phosphorus, proteins and vitamins A, C and D. must be present. These nutrients help the mineralization of the germ, which will give rise to the baby's milk teeth after birth.

Primary dentition, also known as deciduous or deciduous, is composed of the 'milk' teeth, which are 20 and they are arranged in the two arches, upper and lower. Among all, there are eight incisors, four canines and eight molars. As the child grows, usually around 6 years of age, these teeth fall out and permanent teeth begin to appear. Therefore, for a time, teeth of both types coexist in the child's mouth.

The permanent or permanent dentition consists of 32 teeth among which there are 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars and 12 molars, among which are the last 4, known as wisdom teeth. Most children have all baby teeth before 3 years of ageand, around the age of 14, most children have lost all their baby teeth and have almost all permanent teeth. About 6 years later, at approximately age 20, four more molars grow in the back of the mouth, completing the series with a total of 32 pieces.

White and shiny on the outside. This visible outer part is called crown. The crown of each tooth is covered with very hard enamel, which provides a protective barrier to the inner parts of the tooth. Under the enamel of the teeth is dentin, which is the largest layer of the tooth and is similar to bone. Although it is not as resistant as enamel, it is also very hard because its mission is to protect the innermost part of the tooth, which is called the pulp. In the pulp are the nerve endings of the tooth, which are responsible for sending messages to the brain to inform what is happening. The pulp also contains the blood vessels of the tooth, which nourish the tooth and keep it alive and healthy. Both the dentin and the pulp reach the root of the tooth, which is an internal area that is located under the gum and that supports the tooth.

In the mouth, we have different types of teeth and each one has a specific function.

1. Incisors. They are the center teeth at the front of the mouth. There are four up and four down. The incisors are chisel-shaped, with flat and somewhat sharp ends. They are used to cut and grind food.
2. Canines. They are distinguished by the pointed teeth on each side of the incisors and are also known as fangs. In the mouth, there are four canine teeth in total, two on the top and two on the bottom. Thanks to their sharp tip, they help cut food.
3. Premolars. They are located next to the canines and in the mouth there are eight premolars in total, four on the top and four on the bottom. Its shape is different from that of the incisors and canines because the premolars are larger and stronger. At their base they have ripples to crush and grind food.
4. Molars. In total, there are eight, four up and four down. Molars or molars are even wider and stronger than premolars and have more undulations. They are also the hardest. The molars work with the tongue to help swallow food. The tongue carries the chewed food to the back of the mouth, where the molars grind it until it is well broken up and ready to swallow.
5. Wisdom teeth. They come out at approximately 20 years of age. Today, wisdom teeth are not used at all and it is believed that millions of years ago they were essential for chewing food.

Maintaining good tooth health is a task that must begin in childhood, from the so-called milk teeth, which must be well cared for, despite the fact that their average duration is 6 years. If these teeth have cavities, the permanent teeth will inherit the same disease as their predecessor.

For this reason, it is important to protect dental health during childhood. Working on dental hygiene as if it were a game is essential for the child to acquire healthy habits. Both children and adults should brush our teeth every time we eat with fluoride toothpaste or wash them at least twice a day, especially before going to bed. The most effective brushing technique is top to bottom, rather than side to side. Use dental floss to prevent food and plaque from getting caught between your teeth, at least once a day.

And visit the dentist once a year for a dental cleaning and a cavity exam. In-clinic fluoride treatments and molar sealing help protect teeth from decay. And remember, sugar can damage the enamel and dentin inside your teeth and cause cavities, which, although treatable, are always best avoided.

Marisol New.

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