Baby teeth start to appear anytime from 4 to 7 months after birth. They help with chewing and act as space holders for the adult teeth which come out later. Although these teeth start falling; some as early as when the child turns 4, they still need proper care. This is necessary because they also develop cavities if they are not cleaned. If left untreated, the decay can result in a toothache, early loss of the tooth and worse, cause gum infections. A lost tooth leaves room for other teeth to move and block the underlying permanent teeth. This contributes to common adult teeth problems such as crowding. It is therefore important to protect your child’s future smile and keep her from the pain of dental caries. Here’s how.
Start cleaning teeth early
Start with using a soft, damp cloth to clean your baby’s gums. Keep this up until the first few teeth come out; at which point you switch to a small, soft tooth brush designed for kids. Smear a very small amount of toothpaste containing fluoride on it. It is important to use fluoride toothpaste because it has been shown to help make teeth stronger and protect them from cavities. This amount can be increased when the child hits age 3. After this age when the child is able to spit, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. The teeth should be brushed twice a day. When the child is a bit older, you can teach him/her take charge of brushing and flossing teeth.
Regular Dental checks
Regular trips to the dentist are not recommended for adults only. According to the American pediatric dentistry association, your child should start regular dental visits by the time she is one-year old. During these visits, the dentist will among other things check the teething progress and ensure the child’s oral health is good. If a baby tooth is already damaged by decay and has cavities, filling the tooth may be necessary to save it.
The dentist you choose for your child should not only possess qualifications such as education, licensing, experience and have the right tools. It is also important that s/he be good with kids such that they will not be afraid of the regular visits. The office should also have an atmosphere that encourages fun and relaxation. Get a dentist such as Life Smile Dental, whose office feels more like a home.
Avoid snacks with too much sugar or sticky ones that tend to sit longer on the teeth as these give decay-causing bacteria time to cause damage. Save much of the starch for mealtimes. You should also be careful with Sippy cups and feeding bottles especially close to bed time since they have been linked to tooth decay in babies.
Caring for your child’s teeth from an early age doesn’t just help protect your baby’s beautiful smile. It also helps to cultivate habits that promote good oral hygiene, which the child is likely to carry on to adulthood.