Basic Facts for Good Oral Health

For children under five (5) years of age

Introduction: Taking care of your child’s oral health is important and should start at an early age. Parents and care givers should start caring for their Child’s mouth from birth.

A closer look at the child’s mouth: The mouth is made up of different parts all working together for normal function of the body. It’s used for speaking, singing, eating, swallowing and showing emotions.

The parts that make up the mouth are:- Teeth, Gums, Tongue and Lips. Children start getting their first teeth around six month of age , and by three years of age all 20 teeth should have appeared in the mouth- 10 at the upper and 10 at the lower jaw. These teeth are at times called milk or primary teeth.

Common conditions in children

Tooth decay

This is the slow destruction (rotting) of tooth surface leading to formation of a hole (cavity)


It is caused by the frequent intake of sugary food. Germs which are normally found in the mouth turn the sugar into acid. This acid destroys the tooth surface resulting in cavity formation.

Signs and symptoms of tooth decay include change of tooth color, a cavity (hole on the tooth), tooth ache, and swelling (gums or cheek).


At times parents and care givers do not realize that the baby ‘s teeth can decay soon after they appear in the mouth. By the time decay is noticed, it may be too late to save the teeth. One can help to prevent this from happening to a child by the following tips.

  • Wipe baby’s gums with clean, soft and moist cloth.
  • Clean your child’s teeth at least two times a day as soon as they appear in the mouth  (using a clean, soft, moist cloth or soft toothbrush with fluoridated toothpaste)
  • Reduce the frequency of taking sugary food.
  • If one thinks the child has a tooth problem, take them to the dental clinic as soon as possible.


The treatment depends on the extent of the problem. It can range from filling to extraction. When a parent or care giver suspects that their child has tooth decay, they should visit the nearest dental clinic as soon as possible.

  • Natal teeth: These are teeth found in newly born babies. In some cultures a child born with tooth is a concern as there is a belief that the child has been cursed. This is not true; one should take the child to dental clinic for removal of these teeth.
  • Digit sucking: Suckling fingers, tongues, lips and others digit has bad consequences because this habit disturbs the development of both jaws and teeth. This habit should be discouraged as soon as possible.
  • Tongue tie: This is a condition where the tongue has limited movement. This may produce speech difficulties in future for the child. The child should therefore be taken to the nearest dental clinic for treatment.
  • Cleft palate and lip palate: A child can be born with defects in which the tissues of the palate or lip have not developed properly. The good news is that this can be corrected.

For more information visit the nearest oral health facility.

Imesomwa mara 3685 Imehaririwa Ijumaa, 05 Mai 2017 17:54
Dr. Barnabas Mbogo

Dr. Barnabas Mbogo ana utaalamu kwenye meno na programu za afya ya jamii kwa ujumla(Community Health Programs))

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