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Dentists Answer Questions About Milk Teeth For Baby and Toddler
  • "Totoo po ba na ang pagtubo ng ngipin ni baby ay nagdudulot ng diarrhea?" a parent asks in the Smart Parenting Village. Others sent their inquiries as well. 

    For answers, we approached Dr. Patricia Cruz, who practices general, pediatric, and special-needs dentistry and also orthodontics at Tooth Booth Dental Center in Marikina City.

    Editor's note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    "Does teething cause diarrhea?" And other questions

    This is a myth, according to Dr. Cruz. "Teething and diarrhea are not associated. Teething normally begins at the age of six months," she says. "At around the same time, mothers start giving their babies solid foods.  

    "Your baby's fragile digestive tract may take some time to adjust to new foods, which may result in a change in their stools, including diarrhea. Babies at this age are also likely to put things—which are potentially contaminated—inside their mouths, making them sick."

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    Question: "How young ba need magpa-check ng teeth? Maganda naman ang tubo ng teeth ng anak ko. He is three years old."

    Answer: "The first visit must be made by the first birthday. A child should visit the dentist within six months from the eruption of the first tooth or by age one.

    "Preventive treatment and early evaluation will safeguard your child's smile now and in the future. The earlier you go to the dentist, the more likely you are to avoid dental problems.

    "Children with healthy teeth have an easier time chewing food, learning to talk effectively, and smiling confidently. Begin instilling excellent dental habits in children at a young age."

    Question: "My baby is 18 months. [May] one or two teeth siya na magkadikit yata. Kung magkadikit, pwede bang hindi na i-cut 'yon? Maayos pa ba ang ngipin niya 'pag permanent teeth na kahit hindi ipaputol?"

    Answer: "Teeth in this area of the mouth can sometimes be fused or split into two, and the treatment depends on what the condition is. It is best to visit a pediatric dental specialist to confirm via clinical exam and X-ray if this anomaly is a fusion or gemination. 

    "Fusion represents the union of two independently developing teeth, while gemination represents an attempted division of a single tooth bud. The dental specialist will discuss the appropriate treatment based on a thorough examination of your baby's teeth."

    Should tots use toothpaste?

    Question: "Is it okay for my little one (LO), aged two years and four months, to use a toothpaste like Aqua Fresh Milk Teeth even if my toddler doesn't know yet how to spit it out?"

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    Answer: "I am not brand-specific. What's important is the amount of fluoride in the toothpaste. This can be found on the side of the tube and is measured in parts per million (ppm).

    "The Philippine Pediatric Dental Society, Inc. (PPDSI) recommends that fluoridated toothpaste should be used twice daily as a preventive procedure.

    "Children under two years old should brush twice daily, with a 'smear' amount of toothpaste containing at least 1,000 ppm fluoride.

    "Children two years old and above should use pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350 to 1,500 ppm of fluoride."

    Question: "Until what age ba tumutubo ang milk teeth at nangangati ang gums? My LO is three years old. Pati toys kinakagat niya."

    Answer: "Baby teeth are usually completed by the time your child is two and a half to three years old. Sometimes they pick up habits such as thumb-sucking, using pacifiers, and teething on toys.

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    "Any habit that lasts for more than 36 months (three years old) can have effects on teeth alignment and jaw growth, so it's best to consult a pediatric dentist to identify the cause of the habit and develop strategies for stopping it."

    Question: "What are the cons if hindi nalilinisan ang tongue ng toddler? Mine is 20 months old at hirap akong maglinis ng dila niya."

    Answer: "The tongue has the largest bacterial load in the mouth and makes the greatest contribution to the bacteria found in the oral cavity. Leaving milk curd or food debris on your child's tongue can lead to bacterial overgrowth, which can result in halitosis (bad breath) or infection.

    "Cleaning the tongue is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene. It can be done using clean moistened linen (lampin), dampened gauze, or a silicone toothbrush to gently wipe off the milk or food debris. But don't get too gigil so you won't wound the tongue."

    Question: "My LO is two years and two months. May stains sa ngipin niya na hindi matanggal ng brushing. What to do?"

    Answer: "There are several reasons for discolored teeth. The most usual are colorants in food or medication that can darken the teeth. Another reason is the teeth getting bumped during a fall.

    "Discoloration may also be a sign of decay—at this age, it is known as early childhood caries. It is best to bring your child to a pediatric dentist for clinical examination and diagnosis."

    Question: “My child is three years old na pero wala pa rin siyang teeth sa lower front teeth niya. Usually 'di ba nauuna 'yon? Pero sa case ng LO ko wala pa rin until now. Even bakas na mayroong tutubong ngipin wala talaga."

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    Answer: "I understand your concern. Lower front teeth are usually the first baby teeth that come out, and it's prudent that we find out where the baby teeth are—soon.

    "The answers to your LO's missing teeth may be given by a specialist in pediatric dentistry after a thorough examination, which can include taking X-rays of her teeth."

    Dr. Patricia Cruz practices at Tooth Booth Dental Center in Marikina City. 

    Special thanks to Dyna Jeanne D. Godoy for her invaluable help in producing this article. She practices general dentistry and orthodontics at Godoy Dental & Optical Clinic in Taguig City.

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