Most parents think that baby teeth don’t need care since they will be replaced by permanent teeth. But the fact is caring for a baby tooth is important.
Teething is somewhat a rite of passage of children. The teeth start to develop between 6 to 10 months for most kids. In rare cases, children get teeth in just 3 months or as late as 12 months.
The first teeth of the baby preserve the spaces that result in healthy growth of the secondary teeth. Moreover, healthy teeth allow babies to chew food and talk properly. Proper caring for baby’s teeth also prevents gum diseases such as gingivitis that can result in improper growth of the permanent teeth.
Here are some important tips to care for your baby’s teeth from Huntsville family dental experts.
1. Brush Teeth Regularly
The moment you see pearly white teeth of your baby, you need to start brushing. Pick up a baby toothbrush in your local store, ideally with an ADA seal of acceptance. You should select a brush for your baby with the following characteristics.
- Small head
- Soft Brush
- Large Handle
Before brushing your baby’s tooth, you should first wet the brush. You should place only a small amount of fluoride – about the size of a rice grain – on the brush. Don’t smear the brush with too much fluoride since it could be harmful to the baby. Once the child reaches 3 years old, you can increase to a pea-sized fluoride.
Make sure that you brush around the front and back of the baby’s teeth. You should continue to brush your child’s teeth until the age of 6 when your child can rinse and spit without help.
2. Ensure Baby Drinks Fluorinated Water
You should make sure that your baby gets at least 2 ounces of water every day. The recommended amount is 4 ounces per day. In case of extremely hot and humid weather, you should ensure that your baby gets about 6 to 9 ounces of water in a day.
The water should be fluorinated as it will help prevent tooth decay. Most tap water contains a sufficient amount of fluoride. If the drinking water is not fluoridated, you should ask your doctor about fluoride supplements.
Drinking fluoridated water can reduce dental cavities by about 25 percent, according to the American Dental Association. Fluorinated water is also known as a natural cavity fighter. You should consider giving water instead of sweetened drinks including juices that are labeled 100 percent natural. Avoid giving sports drinks and soda to your baby as they can contribute to dental problems. Moreover, they also result in excessive weight gain.
3. Schedule a Dental Exam
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents should schedule a dental exam as soon as the first tooth appears. Make sure that you see a doctor before the first birthday. The reason for seeing a doctor early is that the teeth can get cavity soon after they arrive. Signs of a cavity include minor pitting and discoloration.
4. Avoid Putting Your Baby With a Milk Bottle in Bed
Putting your baby in bed with a bottle containing milk — or worse fruit juice — can result in cavities. You should not let the infant drink from a bottle for a long period. Take out the bottle if you see that your baby is not feeding and using it just for comfort.
Taking care of the baby’s teeth will help create the foundation of strong, healthy permanent teeth. The good dental habits established during childhood will benefit your child for years to come.