After the birth of your baby, you may be most focused on their eating habits and development. But to help your child obtain the ultimate oral health later in life, you need to begin their preventative care early on. The following are critical steps that will allow you to ensure good oral health for your child.
Begin to Clean Before You See Teeth
Your job as a parent is important and involves critical duties such as creating a healthy environment for your child to grow up in. To help start your child’s life off right, you want to gradually introduce oral care such as teeth cleaning before their pearly whites have begun to come in. Getting them used to dental hygiene by gently cleaning off their gums once they are done with feedings sets a good routine. Using a warm, damp cloth, wrap the material around your finger. They also make rubber devices that adhere onto your finger to use for wiping down excess milk and food.
Schedule an Exam
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Dental Association recommend a child gets their initial exam by the age of one. Family dentistry provides personalized care for both children and adults. Comprehensive exams detect if your child has tooth decay or cavities. Your family dentist will also be able to determine if your child needs braces or other devices such as a mouth guard as their mouth grows and develops. When you take excellent care of your child’s teeth when they’re young, you’ll form good habits for the coming years.
Take Extra Care
Some parents think that a child’s baby teeth are unimportant because they aren’t their permanent set. But a child’s primary set are critical as they reserve space for the final set to come in. Baby teeth also help her child talk and eat food as they grow. If they’re not properly looked after, your tiny tot could be prone to gingivitis, tooth decay and infections.
Be on the Lookout
Signs your child may have a cavity includes pain, discomfort and tooth discoloration. You can do your part to reduce your child’s chances of cavities by skipping bottle feeding when they go to bed. Juice is another contributing factor to cavities as the liquid contains high volumes of sugar. Plan on filling your infant’s bottle with water, formula or breast milk.
Practice After Meal Hygiene
If you’re looking to clean your child’s mouth after liquid meals, offer your baby a bottle or cup of water to drink. This method helps formula and milk wash away easily. As your child becomes used to the motions of a toothbrush, gently clean any residue off their teeth and gums. This is especially important as you introduce solid foods to your baby.
At the age of two, you’ll probably be ready to introduce a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to your child’s brushing regimen. Start with a small amount and guide them to brush at least twice per day. This should be done in the morning when they clean their face and at the end of the day when you’re getting ready for bed. To encourage this daily ritual and make it fun, let your child choose their favorite flavored toothpaste. You’ll also find brushes that come in their favorite animated character. You can also practice oral habits together as a family. This allows your child the chance to stay on task and learn the proper brushing technique from an experienced adult. If you’re unsure, enlist the help of your dental care provider.
With your baby’s teeth soon making an appearance, it’s time to help them chart a course to the best oral health care. Although the initial set of baby teeth are in for just a short period of time before the tooth fairy collects them, staying on track with the above tips prepares them for when their permanent teeth come in for good.