Taking care of a child’s teeth within their first few days of birth is just as important as taking care of teeth during elderly years. Babies are susceptible to tooth decay and cavities just like anyone else, so it’s paramount that parents take the right steps to keep baby mouths clean and healthy.
From gum care to the hygiene of baby teeth, we’ll examine the best way to care for your baby’s teeth to ensure that their mouths stay healthy as they grow.
Clean Baby Gums Daily
The American Dental Association recommends that parents begin taking care of their child’s teeth within the first few days of birth. On the ADA’s Mouth Healthy website, they suggest that parents wipe their baby’s gums “with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.” This will help keep the mouth clean from bacteria that could lead to tooth decay when teeth eventually start to come in. It is suggested that a baby’s gums be wiped daily to keep them clean and healthy.
Brush Baby Teeth Twice A Day
Baby teeth are very important, even though they are not permanent. With these teeth, young children learn to chew their food, speak properly and grow confident with their smile. Children are born with all 20 baby teeth present in their jaws, which will begin to erupt between the first six months to a year. For children under three years of age, parents should brush these teeth with a rice-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste to keep teeth clean and strong. After age three, that size should increase to about the size of a pea. Just like adults, these teeth should be brushed twice a day to reduce the risk of decay.
Watch For Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Cavities and tooth decay in babies and toddlers is known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, due to the possibility of decay that can result from the consumption of sugary drinks. In reality, this early decay can be caused by a variety of factors, including the exchange of saliva from mother to baby, exposure to drinks — especially sugary ones — right before bed, improper oral care habits and poor diets. All of these should be avoided, as they can increase the risk of your child developing cavities in their first few years.
Schedule Dentist Visits Early
Every child should have visited the dentist at least once before their first birthday. Consulting with a dentist, even if your child appears to have healthy teeth, is an important way to ensure your child’s oral cavity is as healthy as it can be. In addition to examining your child’s mouth, dentists can also suggest habits and provide insight on to improve the health of your child’s teeth that are unique to your child’s individual situation.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
As mentioned above, sugary drinks are extremely harmful to the health of a child’s teeth. Drinks like juices, sodas and sugar water can wreak havoc on a child’s teeth, leading to decay and cavities. They’re also linked to an increased risk of weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, so it’s best to steer clear of these altogether.
The Final Word
It’s integral that parents take good care of their child’s gums and teeth from the first few days after birth and all throughout their early childhood years. Using fluoride toothpaste, avoiding sugary drinks and scheduling regular dentist visits will all help to keep teeth strong and healthy so your child is able to enjoy life with a smile and without decay.