Did you know that, tooth decay affects children in the United States more than any other chronic infectious disease. Caring for baby teeth is just as important as permanent teeth.
Working in the dental field for over 20 years has certainly helped me understand the importance of caring for ones teeth. Your mouth is a window to the overall health of your entire body. You would think that caring for your teeth is just common sense, something that we just all know we should do. So caring for your babies smile should be just as important, something that we all know to do… not so.
Sadly, I’ve witnessed many children come in as young as 2 years old with a mouth full of cavities. Not being able to sleep or eat because they are in pain.
One thing you learn very quickly when becoming a new parent is that having a child is a huge responsibility, and there are so many questions as to how to properly care for your precious little one as they grow. Because a healthy smile is so important to a healthy development, here are some tips for you:
How to care for your babies smile:
START EARLY ~ Before the first tooth appears:
- After each feeding (whether it’s breast or bottle-fed) wipe gums with a clean washcloth to remove plaque & help prevent acid attacks.
- Do not dip pacifiers in sweet liquids.
- Avoid putting baby to bed with a bottle or using a bottle as a pacifier, this will help prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, which not only causes damage to baby teeth but can damage permanent teeth as well. If your child must have a bottle at naptime or bedtime make certain that it is just plain water.
After the First Tooth appears:
- Once baby’s teeth begin to erupt, Start brushing with a soft bristle child size toothbrush.
- For the first two years, be sure to choose toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, unless advised otherwise by your dentist, because too much fluoride can be dangerous for young children. Use only a miniscule amount of toothpaste. Have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing to prepare her for fluoride toothpaste, which should not be swallowed at any age.
By spending a few minutes each day caring for your baby’s teeth, you ensure his/her smile gets off to healthy start!
At what age should your child first see the dentist?
It is recommended child visits the dentist by his/her first birthday.
How do you prepare your child for their first trip to the dentist?
Children learn from watching their parents. Let your child be a part of your oral health routine. While he/she watches you brush and floss your teeth, they will instinctively relate good oral habits with positive feelings.
A positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular checkups. If you’re at ease your child will most likely be at ease.
There are many children’s books out there that talk about a child’s first visit to the dentist. Reading about what they can expect may help them feel more comfortable, even excited to go to the dentist.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s dental health, talk to your dentist. They want to help.
Feel free to leave a comment.
Happy & Healthy Smiles to you!