So, your child’s teeth just started to come in. We know that this can be an exciting milestone for parents. Of course, this also means considering your child’s oral health. Just as you brush and floss your teeth every day, you will now need to begin brushing your child’s teeth. While the techniques and practices will be a bit different and probably less time-consuming (seeing as your child probably only has one or two teeth at the moment), here are some tips for how to brush your child’s teeth properly,
- Even before your child’s teeth start to erupt it’s important to keep their gums healthy and clean by wiping them with a soft, damp cloth after each feeding and right before bedtime. Your child will get their first tooth between 6-14 months.
- Yes, even children’s teeth can develop decay. As soon as the tooth is formed it can develop decay, so it’s important that you start brushing it as soon as you see it.
- Purchase a child-sized toothbrush from your local drugstore and wet the soft-bristled toothbrush with water to brush your child’s tooth or teeth (at this point you don’t need toothpaste).
- Your child won’t start needing toothpaste until they are 2 years old. From 2-3 years old your child only needs toothpaste the size of a grain of rice in order to clean their teeth. After 3 years old, you can upgrade to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Just as you do for your own teeth, you should also brush your child’s teeth twice a day (once in the morning and again at night right before going to bed).
- Use soft, circular motions when brushing the teeth and the gums. Again, just as you do your own teeth, you should brush for a minimum of two minutes. Don’t forget to brush their tongue and roof of their mouth, too.
- We know that your child may not fully understand the brushing process, so it’s a good idea to tell them what you are doing and the importance of brushing their teeth. Even though they can’t brush their own teeth yet it’s still great to show them how to brush so that when it’s time to start brushing their own teeth they understand how to do it.
- Most children can start brushing their teeth around 7-8 years old, but still need to be supervised by an adult until around 10-11 years old.
Have questions about caring for your baby’s developing smile? Keeping your child’s smile healthy is so important for their development and practicing good oral hygiene at home will ensure that your child’s smile stays healthy.
- At birth: this is performed right away on your child, as part of the newborn physical assessment.
- 6 months: your pediatrician evaluates your child’s eyes at their regular appointment.
- 3.5 years old: at your child’s appointment, the pediatrician tests their eyes and also their visual acuity.
- 5 years old: a standard assessment performed at a pediatric appointment.
- Your child doesn’t keep or make eye contact
- They don’t respond to your facial expressions or smiles
- Does not reciprocate facial expressions or have the appropriate ones
- Doesn’t respond to parent’s pointing
- Has problems making friends
- Shows a lack of concern for others
- Your child hasn’t spoken by 16 months
- Repeats or parrots what others say
- Doesn’t feel the need or want to communicate
- Starts missing language and social milestones after 15 months
- Doesn’t pretend play but does have a good memory for numbers, songs, and letters
- Has an affinity for routines and schedules and does not like altering them
- Likes to twirl their fingers, sway, rock, or spin
- Has strange activities that they enjoy doing repeatedly
- They are sensitive to sounds, lights, touch, textures, and smells
- They are more interested in the parts of a toy instead of the whole thing
When your little one is first born they will go through a series of tests and screenings to make sure they are healthy. This includes checking their vital signs, hearing, and vision. Your child’s first battery of health screenings will occur while you are still in the hospital. If everything checks out just fine then you’ll be good to go until you need to visit the pediatrician in the coming week. Of course, if we discover that there is an issue with their vision you may need to visit your child’s pediatrician sooner.
Of course, not all pediatric eye problems occur at birth. They can also happen as your child continues to develop over the years. This is why it’s so important that you are visiting your pediatric doctor regularly to ensure that if there is a problem with your child’s vision that they get the proper care they need to prevent more serious issues from happening.
Here are just some of the most common eye problems that children face:
Nystagmus: A condition that causes involuntary and repetitive eye movements, which results in a reduction in vision.
Strabismus: Sometimes referred to as crossed eyes, this is when the eyes are not aligned with one another.
Amblyopia: Colloquially referred to as a “lazy eye”, this condition occurs when vision is one eye doesn’t develop properly, resulting in reduced vision.
Congenital cataract: While most people associate cataracts with older individuals, it is possible for a child to be born with this condition that causes clouding of the ocular lens.
Some eye problems can be caught at birth; however, it’s important to understand that babies aren’t born with all of their visual capabilities. This is something that is learned over time as their eyes continue to develop and send signals to their brain. A baby’s vision isn’t as clear as ours; however, in the first few months, you’ll begin to see them focus on objects close up, develop eye-hand coordination as they grab for things they want or follow moving objects.
Of course, you will have a pediatrician schedule to follow, which ensures that your little one is getting the proper care, checkups, vaccinations, and screenings they need to check off certain developmental milestones. If your pediatrician detects vision problems they will most likely refer you to a pediatric eye doctor who can provide you with the best treatment options.
If at any time you become worried about your child’s vision, then it’s important that you make an appointment with your pediatrician to have their vision tested. Your pediatrician is here to make sure that your growing child gets the care they need throughout the course of their developing life so they can become a healthy, happy adult.
Truth is, anyone with an appendix can get appendicitis—even our children. Appendicitis is a painful inflammation of the hollow, finger-shaped organ attached to the end of the large intestine. If left untreated, an inflamed appendix can rupture, leading to a lengthy hospital stay for complications including abdominal infection and bowel obstruction.
When your child complains of stomach pain, consult your pediatrician for proper diagnosis and to ensure the health of your child. Since appendicitis is potentially life-threatening, it is important to understand the symptoms so that you can spot appendicitis in your child. In order of appearance, the symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Unfortunately, symptoms of appendicitis might also be hidden by a viral or bacterial infection that preceded it. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever may appear before the typical pain of appendicitis, which makes the diagnosis much more difficult.
Your child’s discomfort might also disappear, which will persuade you that they are better. However, this disappearance of pain could also meant that the appendix has just broken open or ruptured. The pain might leave for several hours, but this is the moment when the appendicitis becomes dangerous, making it more important than ever to visit your pediatrician for immediate care for your child.
When your pediatrician diagnoses your child with appendicitis, surgery is usually needed as soon as possible. Surgically removing the appendix is usually the treatment of choice, as it is important to eliminate the inflamed appendix before it bursts.
While most children with abdominal pain do not have appendicitis, you can never be too safe when it comes to the health of your child. Visit your pediatrician for further diagnosis of this serious problem and to take the next steps toward a healthy child.
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