62 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
TAKING CARE OF BABY TEETH
A child’s baby teeth are being made before birth while the baby is still inside
the mother’s womb. During the last months of pregnancy and the first few
months after the child is born, the baby teeth take their final form. Pregnant
mothers and young children need good food and good health in order
to have strong baby teeth.
are white and their
front surface is smooth.
have yellow marks that
are pitted and rough.
Baby teeth get marks on them when: 1) the pregnant mother is sick or does
not eat good food; 2) the young baby is sick or does not eat good food; or,
sometimes, 3) the baby’s birth was early or the delivery was difficult.
The marks are rougher than the rest of the tooth. Food
sticks easily to them and turns the tooth yellow.
The marks are also soft. They need to be cleaned well
every day (p. 63) to prevent them from becoming
cavities. A tooth with a cavity hurts. When children’s
teeth hurt, they do not want to eat as much.
Cavities in baby teeth can make a child’s malnutrition worse.
Remember this whenever you see a weak, poorly nourished child. When
you examine a child at the health clinic, lift his lip and look at his teeth. Do
this as part of your routine examination.
You can fill cavities with cement (Chapter 10).
Cement prevents food and air from going inside
the cavity and hurting the child.
A sore on the gums may be a gum bubble. If so,
it means the tooth has an abscess (page 82).
That cavity should not be filled with cement.
Instead, the tooth needs to be taken out
(Chapter 11) before the infection gets worse.