Some parents wonder why they should take care of their baby’s temporary teeth when they are replaced with permanent ones in a short period of time. However, from the very first tooth, your child will benefit immensely from proper dental care.
If decayed milk teeth fall out, they do not provide a proper place for permanent teeth to emerge and can cause future teeth to come in crowded or crooked. Decayed teeth also affect speech development and can interfere with good nutrition due to bite issues. That is why taking care of your baby’s teeth will help establish healthy habits earlier on and promote a lifetime of excellent dental health. Here are a few ways to take care of your baby’s first teeth.
Don’t Let Babies Sleep With Bottles
When you put your baby to bed with their bottle, they may end up sleeping with the bottle still in their mouth. The prolonged exposure of temporary teeth to milk or other liquids in the bottle can result in plaque buildup around the teeth. When a child regularly sleeps with a bottle, they may develop cavities from tooth decay, a condition known as “baby bottle decay.” Ensure your child does not sleep with their bottle to prevent baby bottle decay. It’s important to book an appointment with a pediatric dentist for children with symptoms of tooth decay, such as brown or black spots on the tooth.
Clean Your Baby’s Gums and Teeth
Even before your infant’s first teeth come in, you must ensure their gums and mouth stay healthy. You can achieve this by wiping their gums after eating using damp gauze or a warm, damp washcloth wrapped around your finger. When your baby’s teeth erupt at around six months, you should clean them using a soft-bristled brush and water or a warm, wet washcloth. Cleaning the gums and teeth will prevent plaque buildup that may cause tooth decay. At 18 months, you can use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste to brush your baby’s teeth.
Plan Your First Visit to the Dental Office
Seeing a dentist can help prevent dental problems since tooth decay may become an issue even when the teeth are still small or erupting. Most children do not see a dentist until they are above two years old. However, it is recommended that you take your child for the first dental appointment within six months after the first tooth erupts or before their first birthday. Initial visits to a dentist are helpful and informative, and the dentist will answer any questions or concerns parents have regarding their child’s teeth. Furthermore, any dental issues can be detected early and treated, preventing lasting damage to your child’s teeth.
Provide a Healthy Diet
A balanced and healthy diet significantly contributes to healthy gums and teeth. Most babies start eating solid food before their first birthday and can enjoy different foods much like the rest of the family. To maintain healthy gums and teeth, you should make the right food and snack choices for your child. It is best to avoid chewy and sticky foods that will stick to the teeth resulting in plaque buildup. Refined foods like potato chips and white bread may also be unideal for your child’s teeth.
Taking care of your baby’s gums and teeth is essential from the time you first bring them home. Parents should practice good oral health even before your baby’s teeth grow in. Even though this may seem overwhelming at first, it is an important part of safeguarding your child’s health. With the above-mentioned tips in mind, you can set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.