Parents often wonder when they should start caring for their children’s teeth -; and the simple answer to that question is, “when they first appear”. Tooth decay is mostly preventable with good oral hygiene, and it is one of the most common diseases among children, with almost forty percent of kindergarteners having at least one cavity. Prevent cavities and other oral health issues with the tips listed below.
It’s Never too Early to Start
You should start caring for your baby’s teeth before they appear, and it can be as simple as cleaning the gums with a wet washcloth. Take your child to the dentist before his or her first birthday; preventive care is less costly than restorative care.
Instill the Proper Habits
Even before your child’s first teeth appear, it’s important to teach good oral care habits. Many people believe that baby teeth don’t have to be brushed, but that is simply not true. As teeth appear, brush them twice each day with a baby toothbrush and infant-safe toothpaste. Begin flossing as soon as two adjacent teeth appear.
Avoid Bottle Issues
It may be tempting, but you shouldn’t put your baby down to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. These liquids can stick to the teeth, and the sugars feed decay-causing bacteria. If your child needs a bottle before bed, it should only contain water.
Monitor Sippy Cup Usage
Sippy cups are useful, because they ease the transition from bottle to cup. However, usage can become a problem when kids carry the cup around all day. Prolonged cup use can lead to decay on the backside of the front teeth, especially if the cup is filled with a sugary beverage.
Don’t let Older Kids use a Pacifier
There’s some evidence that early pacifier usage may help in the prevention of SIDS, but the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends only using a binky until your baby falls asleep. Constant pacifier usage can affect the alignment of the bottom and top teeth, and can actually change the mouth’s shape. Talk to your dentist if your child’s pacifier usage continues past the age of three.
There are many ways to safeguard your children’s dental health, many of which are listed in the article above. However, the most important step is to get early preventive care. If you haven’t done so already, call a Dentist in Wichita KS to schedule an appointment for your child.