OraMedia Dental Self Sufficiency, root canal alternatives, tooth decay, cavities, periodontal disease, gingivitis, plaque,
An EXCELLENT place to learn about root canal alternatives, tooth decay, cavities, periodontal disease, gingivitis,
plaque, tarter, dentists, preventive dentistry, in-home dental care, fluoride and oral hygiene.

The Transition Years

A great deal takes place in the development of a child be­tween the ages of 4 and 12. It is one of life's marvelously exciting periods of time. This is the time during our lives that we begin to learn what it is going to be like when we are no longer children. It is a time during life that youngsters want to be treated more and more like grown-ups except, of course, when trouble arises and the security of returning to childlike behavior gains us the needed protection. We begin to mock grown ups, we begin to talk like them and act like them.

During this impressionable time adults can greatly influence children's eventual adult behavior. This is very true when it comes to the hygiene of the body. During this time young­sters learn the benefits of taking a bath periodically, some­times not willingly, but learning nevertheless. So, too, during this impressionable time, youngsters can gain immensely in the realm of learning correct oral hygiene, if they are taught properly.

This article is written to help parents encourage their youngsters to enjoy the benefits of a clean and healthy mouth. It would be best for the reader to review two precursors to this article: ‘Protect the Precious,’ and ‘The Trying Years.’ ‘Protect The Precious’ conveys pertinent information concerning oral health of youngsters from birth to age one. ‘The Trying Years’ carries along the message from age one to age four. These two messages should be evaluated carefully for the necessary background making this publication even more meaningful.

As was related in ‘The Trying Years,’ a youngster's ability to begin assuming some of his own oral hygiene responsibil­ities varies widely from child to child. Many youngsters begin to learn by age two.  Most, however, probably approach the age of about four or five before their efforts are going to be of much significance.  Therefore, the main message of this article is to encourage the parent to slowly teach the child how to gradually take over the responsibility of thoroughly cleaning his or her own mouths. The key concepts are simply supervision and motivation:  as the previous articles related to the parent just what was necessary for a healthy mouth, this piece of material is designed to help the parent teach these things to the child.

The basic approach is supervision, with the major ingredient being a whole lot of loving patience. Keeping a mouth clean is not an easy job - that is the main reason why most people do it so poorly.  However, if taught at a young age in the right way the apparent difficulties are readily overcome. There is probably no other basic health message that can be taught at this age that has more lifetime importance and significance.

The correct efforts on the part of the parents during these years can mean a lifetime of freedom from dental disease.  There will be very few adult readers of this article who won't appreciate just how wonderful it would have been to have had such a message themselves and been able to avoid their own lifetime of problems. (Halleluyah.)

As in the previous two articles, the first thing to consider is what are the correct instruments or tools to carry out this project. The first and most important is the toothbrush. After years of careful consideration, Oramedics International has selected the Butler #111 Junior Toothbrush as the most effective brush for children of approximately age 4 to age 10.  By the age of about 10 years to 12 years the recommended brush is The Butler #311.

You will need, of course, as previously recommended, a continued supply ofDisclosing Tablets disclosing tablets. Any brand here will suffice. You will also need a continual supply of Oral-B satin TapeDental Tape - children have a particularly difficult time with the older style of conventional unwaxed dental floss, as it hurts their fingers and tends to cut their gums. You will also need a source of light and a mirror plus an intra-oral mirror so that the youngster can begin to see what he or she is doing, along with the parent's help. The cost of these units is but a small investment when one considers how much money can be saved by using the ‘Oramedics’ Program.

With the help of these suggested supplies along with the right concepts plus the addition of a very determined parent, we can accomplish the goal. That goal is perfectly clean teeth. This is good, because perfectly clean teeth don't decay.

We recommend that the best approach is to let the child take it "at his or her own speed", so to speak. Since the parent has been the main source of tooth cleaning effort up to this point, it is important to emphasize that the parent still remain responsible for the end result. By offering as much encour­agement as possible but recognizing that the child will achieve less than adequate results, the parent will likely have to step in initially to see that the job is completed properly. This is why we have called this article 'The Transition Years.' It means just what it says, a slow transfer of inform­ation and skills from the parent to the child, the parent still retaining the total responsibility that at least once each day the youngster's teeth are completely and immaculately clean; that includes the inside of the teeth, the outside of the teeth, the biting surfaces, and those important areas in-between each and every tooth.

<>Of special interest to the parent during these years - the child will be going through what the dentist calls the mixed den­tition stage. This means that the child will soon be experienc­ing both the presence of the baby teeth and the permanent teeth simultaneously. It is an exciting time from the dental standpoint because this tiny mouth will be attempting to negotiate the presence of 52 teeth. This pint-sized person at this age has more teeth in his mouth than he will have at any other time during his life. The coming of the permanent teeth and the going of the baby teeth is a miracle in itself, another reason we have called this publication 'The Transition Years.' Not only is the responsibility for who is going to clean the mouth changing, but also the teeth themselves are changing.

The first permanent teeth to appear in the mouth are usually the 6 year molars. Sometimes called the first permanent molars, they grow into the mouth immediately distal - or in other words - behind the 20 existing baby teeth. These permanent teeth called 6 year molars are frequently mistaken for baby teeth. The reason that many times parents assume these to be baby teeth is that their eruption into the mouth is not associated with the loss of or exfoliation of any baby teeth. They simply grow in further back in the mouth than the positions occupied by the baby teeth. The child will now have 24 teeth visible in the mouth, the 20 teeth towards the front being baby teeth, soon to come out, and the 4 large molars farthest in the back are intended to last for life. (Don't forget that!)

About this same time or not too long afterwards the baby teeth in front will begin to loosen and come out. The perma­nent teeth erupting from below the baby teeth usually cause the roots of the baby teeth to resorb away, so that the baby teeth either fall out on their own or are removed by the child or parent with very little effort. By the time they come out usually there is little more than just a small amount of tissue fibers holding them in place. It is important to note that in the eruption of the front teeth, particularly the lower front teeth, that the permanent teeth frequently tend to grow in behind the existing baby teeth. This sometimes causes concern on the part of many parents, as the teeth appear to be coming in crooked, and or in the wrong place. Generally this is not a matter of concern because the baby teeth norm­ally come out on their own making space for the permanent teeth to grow forward into their proper positions.

Children at this age frequently enjoy that "toothless awkward grin stage". However, a healthy child soon grows new permanent teeth to fill the gap, a particular satisfaction for youngsters as psychologically it gives them a more grown up appearance and therefore a more adult-like feeling about themselves.

It is about this time that we will have 8 permanent front teeth in place, four on top and four on the bottom, 4 six year molars in the back, and 3 remaining baby teeth in each section of the mouth sitting there happily with permanent teeth in the front and permanent teeth to the back of them. So that about the age of 9 years, the child has 12 permanent teeth in place and 12 baby teeth still in place. The exact age at this stage can vary as much as plus or minus one year.

This is a very important time in the youngster's growth and development dentally, because any problems with the teeth at this age can have lifetime ramifications. If the teeth are severely decayed, if infection exists, if teeth are knocked out due to accidents (not uncommon at this age) or any other circumstances that interferes with the normal transition, can cause serious orthodontic problems. This period is so critical in the child's growth and development that Oramedics International has designed and written a specific article which deals with this situation. The article is titled, $aving Orthodontic Dollars.’  If you have a child approach­ing this age be sure to obtain this material and study it carefully. You could be saving your child a lot of difficulty and saving yourself a lot of inconvenience and money.

By this time in your child's life, about the age of 9 years, most children should be able to assume the day-to-day responsibilities of seeing to it that his or her mouth is scrupu­lously clean at least once in every day. Routine cleaning after every meal is highly advisable.  But a thorough cleaning once each day is essential.  If good oral ecology is to be maintained it is probably still advisable for the parent to spot-check the thoroughness of the child's cleaning habits on maybe a weekly basis.  Pick a convenient day of the week when the family household experiences the least amount of hassle, for example: Sunday evening may be a bit quieter than other evenings.  It is advisable to establish a habit pattern where every Sunday night after Junior Disclosing Tabletsdoes his routine, Mom or Dad checks him out with a disclosing tablet.  This seems to be the only guaranteed way to insure continuity in the youngster's oral hygiene program.  If the youngster is not passing these weekly check points with flying colors, then it is high time Mom or Dad, or older brother or sister, steps in to reinforce either the lack of motivation or the shortage of ability to get them (the teeth) properly and thoroughly clean.

From ages 4-12 it is probably advisable to continue a program of periodic plaque testing.  If the conditions of the oral ecology are favorable, yearly plaque testing is probably adequate.  If conditions are not A-1, plaque testing on a more frequent basis is highly recommended.

If you and your child have been working together using the right concepts and techniques, dental disease should be non-existent.  This message has strongly emphasized the importance of ideal oral hygiene.  We have not overlooked the importance of nutrition and would like to emphasize here that throughout life, good nutrition is an extremely important factor in achieving dental and oral health, in general. 

The child of age 9, plus or minus one year, has 12 permanent teeth and 12 baby teeth.  During the next 4 to 5 years these 12 baby teeth will slowly loosen up and come out to be replaced by permanent bicuspids and cuspids giving the child a full compliment of adult teeth by age 12 or 13 (with the exception of the 3rd molars or wisdom teeth that arrive in the mouth sometime during the youngster's teens if space is available - if not, the teeth become impacted.)

This pretty much concludes the effort on the part of Ora­medics International to relate the specifics of the Oramedics approach as it pertains to young people, with the exception of orthodontics, covered HERE.

Previous Article:  Protect the Precious:  Your Baby's First Year

Previous Article: 
The Trying Years:  Ages 1 - 4

Next Article:  Saving Orthodontic Dollars


OraMedia Home
Articles on Gum Disease
  |  Newsletter Archive

Dr. Robert O. Nara Interview:  Freedom From Dental Disease 

Healthy Teeth and Gums   | 
3 Steps to Acheiving Proper Oral Health  |  Let your Teeth Heal Themselves
How to Eliminate the Dentist From Your Life  |  Healthy Teeth in Children
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Q&A With a Periodontal Patient  |  Make Your Own Toothpaste
 What Are You Brushing With? (Make your Own Toothpaste Part 2)

 Subscribe to the OraMedia Newsletter
OraMedia Products; Oral Irrigators, Mouth Rinse, Xylitol...

Bad Breath and Gingivitis  |  Is Your Dentist Taking Shortcuts?  |  How to Become Dentally Self Sufficient
 Principles of the Seven Factors for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy for Life
Venus, Mars and Oral Hygiene  |  Via Jet Pro  |  TheraSol 
 10 Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy for Life!  |  OraMedia Newsletter Advertizing  |  Take Bad Breath Seriously
Behavioral Effects of Fluorides on Mass Populations 

What is the Best Way to Purify My Water?