Good dental health is established early in life. Oral care should begin soon after the baby’s birth. Gums should be cleaned after each feeding. You can begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear, using a super soft toothbrush.
Ideally, your child’s first dental visit should be by the first birthday. Your dentist will check for decay and other problems, teach you how to clean your child’s teeth and identify your child’s fluoride needs. By starting dental visits early, you’ll help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits.
Sucking is a natural behaviour for babies. Many infants begin sucking their thumbs or using pacifiers within three months of birth. Neither habit generally poses a dental problem if it is discontinued before the child’s first permanent teeth erupt.
When babies are teething they often have sore and tender gums. The pain usually can be soothed by gently rubbing the baby’s gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon or wet gauze. Teething does not cause fever or diarrhea. If your child has an elevated temperature, it needs to be addressed as a separate medical concern.
As soon as teeth appear in the mouth, decay can occur. Even though they will eventually fall out, milk teeth can get cavities and may need to be treated. One serious form of decay among young children is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Babies shouldn’t fall asleep with bottles in their mouths. The sugar in juices or milk formulas can cause tooth decay, leading to cavities, dental discomfort, and even tooth loss. Plain water is usually best.
As a child’s permanent teeth erupt, the Dentist can prevent cavities from forming with the help of sealants and fluoride treatment. Sealants are a safe, painless and low-cost way to help protect your child’s teeth from decay. The sealant is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars, and thus prevents these teeth from decay. Fluoride application is a single sitting procedure done once every six months to make the tooth structure stronger and prevents cavities.
A milk tooth usually stays in until a permanent tooth underneath pushes it out and takes its place. Unfortunately, some children lose a milk tooth too soon. If this happens, the teeth beside it may move into the empty space resulting in lack of space for the permanent teeth, leading to crowding. This can be prevented by the use of space maintainers. It is more affordable and easier on your child to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with orthodontic treatment.
With your help, your child can have a lifetime of healthy smiles!
- A balanced diet is important for healthy teeth and gums. Children especially need calcium to help build strong teeth (milk, cheese, etc.)
- Discourage sugary or starchy snacks.
- Snack in moderation and include beverages to wash the mouth of food particles.
- Set regular snack times to avoid constant exposure to cavity-causing foods.
- Seek early dental care for your young one. Begin oral hygiene when the infant’s first tooth emerges.
- Encourage good oral health and hygiene habits early. Have youngsters brush frequently with fluoride toothpaste.
Teaching your child to maintain good dental habits is the beginning of good dental health. Proper personal care and regular visits to the Dentist can keep dental problems to a minimum.