To give your child the best chance of healthy teeth, you need to make sure to get into the habit of cleaning your baby’s mouth every day. Healthy habits lead to good dental health for your child. Here are some ways to keep your baby’s teeth healthy. Keep in mind healthy baby teeth help with eating properly, proper jaw development, guiding adult teeth into place (permanent teeth can shift if a baby tooth is lost), speaking clearly and a confident smile.
You should clean your baby’s mouth twice a day by gently brushing the gum pads to ease teething pain. You can use a facecloth that has been dampened by warm water for this. This will help your baby become accustomed to the routine of regular mouth care and make life easier later on.
Once the first tooth appears, smear a little basic fluoride toothpaste on a baby toothbrush and brush twice a day. As your child gets older and back teeth appear, gradually increase fluoride toothpaste to a pea-sized amount.
There is no fluorinated water in the Lower Mainland of BC, so using a fluoride toothpaste is very important for the prevention of tooth decay in your child.
Did you know that decay causes germs that are communicable? It is important for the whole family to maintain their dental health and to integrate these ways to keep your baby’s teeth healthy.
You can try dental wipes for infants ages 3 months and up, for use after feedings. Each wipe is moistened with a soothing, non-abrasive formula that cleans and wipes away plaque-like film without rinsing. This will help prevent a condition known as baby bottle tooth decay that is caused by sugars in formula and juice and can lead to early decay and gum disease.
A preference for sugar is something that babies learn so you should avoid giving your baby commercially prepared snacks that are often high in hidden sugars. Encourage your baby to ‘eat their juice’. Fruit is better than juice; it has more fibre and no empty calories. Instead, get your child into the habit of having water.
Don’t forget that babies model your behaviour so keep up with your brushing and drinking water and things should go smoothly.
Your dentist should be looking for overall dental health and to make sure there are no signs of tooth decay six months after the appearance of baby’s first tooth. At your first appointment, they will be able to give you more ideas on ways to keep your baby’s teeth healthy.