Should we brush the teeth promised to the little mouse? Contrary to what many parents imagine, you need to worry about dental health well before the age of 6 years. “But I often hear in my office that baby teeth are not important …”, laments Anne-Laure Vialette, dental surgeon in Boulogne (Hauts-de-Seine).
Since 2007, the Health Insurance has every three years offered preventive agreements called “M’T bulges” to young people aged 6 to 18 years. But since 2019, letters have been sent to parents of children from 3 years, to consult the dentist of their choice within the year.
What is this early meeting for?
“There is an immediate effect: we want to significantly reduce the costs that have to be followed. It is conceivable that with such an investment from Health Insurance there is a benefit behind it, namely to avoid heavier and more expensive care,” insists Christophe Lequart, dental surgeon and spokesman for the French Union for Oral Health (UFSB) This time, paid for by third party payment, allows the therapist to advise parents, teach very young people to brush their teeth … and check that there are no stains on the teeth , teeth, gum problems or Other If this is the case, the Health Insurance covers another consultation, provided that it is carried out within six months, with the exception of braces or dentures.
“We want to check that there is no pathology,” emphasizes Anne-Laure Vialette. We know osteoporosis, it’s the same for teeth. They can be damaged, break … But we must also talk about food hygiene. And remember that you should avoid sugary drinks, snacks … and that even in chips there is sugar! ”
However, this operation has not yet found its publicity. In fact, “the complaint rate for 3-year-olds reached only 29.9% in 2021, although it was even lower in 2020 at 21.48%”, the health insurance company specifies.
Why from 3 years?
Hence the desire to further educate parents and children. Why from 3 years? “The sooner the dentist sees the children, the faster they get used to an environment that sometimes scares them: the chair, the light, the masked doctor, lists the dentist. It is better to see them in a calm and peaceful moment than to pull a tooth Because they risk connecting the dentist with tears, blood … “It is therefore never too early to acquire good reflexes …” The advantage is also that children are not yet in the phase of “no”, Christophe adds Lequart. We’re fighting for it to go to 2 years. For the problem is that with these “bottle caries” 3 years is already too late. “
A term that says a lot about baby teeth, which all too often gets neglected. How is a cavity formed? The bacteria in the mouth use sugar to synthesize acids, which will create micro-holes in the teeth. And when children have a bottle of milk available at night or grenadine during the day, they are in constant contact with sugar, which will promote gaps. Saliva is able to neutralize the acids present in the mouth and will bring minerals to strengthen the enamel of the teeth, but it happens slowly, Christophe Lequart emphasizes. If you multiply your food intake, you do not give the saliva time to do This is why brushing should be learned as soon as the teeth appear, even after six months.
“Cavities form on baby teeth as on permanent ones … and they are just as painful,” he warns. And to continue: “We see children arriving late to our offices whose front teeth are all dilapidated. When they are too damaged we have to pull them out and they only get teeth when they permanently arrive around 6 years old .It is fortunately rare, “reassures Anne-Laure Vialette. In the worst case, if the cavity is not treated, it can lead to an abscess and affect the development of the permanent tooth, if bacteria are under the baby tooth. “Studies have shown that a baby who has cavities in the baby tooth is 4 times more likely to get cavities in his permanent teeth,” adds Christophe Lequart.
How do you teach your child to brush their teeth properly?
But it is not easy to brush the teeth of a 2-year-old child … “Before he is 6 years old, he is not able to do it on his own, warns Anne-Laure Vialette. It is only when they tie their laces on their own that they have the necessary dexterity. Ideally, you should brush your teeth morning and evening, two minutes, and do not forget any space. To make this mission more fun, these dentists recommend setting a timer – an hourglass, for example – to select an electric toothbrush or download an application that encourages good reflexes. “We can ask them to do a course, with ten seconds on each tooth, up, left, down, right,” suggests Christophe Lequart. From 2 to 6 years we will put what is equivalent to a pea toothpaste, concludes Christophe Lequart. Fluoride is essential. But with the fashion for homemade toothpastes bought in organic stores, therefore without fluoride, there is an increase in the gaps. »
However, it does not matter if the child swallows a little toothpaste … ”The whole thing is not to press too hard and have a suitable toothbrush, with soft brushes, adds his colleague. If there is only one brushing to do, it is the evening. The ideal is to wait thirty minutes after dinner. For you need to give your mouth time to wash its natural wash. Otherwise we just have to spread the chocolate … “