Good oral health is essential at any age, but many parents do not realize that they can begin taking care of their baby's mouth and gums when he or she is very young. Beginning an oral hygiene routine during infancy and promoting good oral health during the early toddler years is a great way to teach your child how important it is to take good care of his or her teeth throughout his or her lifetime. Use the following tips for good dental hygiene in very young children:
Clean Your Baby's Mouth After Feedings
It does not matter if your baby is breastfed or fed formula in a bottle-- cleaning his or her mouth after each feeding is a good idea. It is also very easy to do--just use a damp clean cloth or piece of gauze to gently rub your baby's gums and tongue. This will remove any excess bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Beginning this routine at a young age will help your baby get used to having his or her gums and future teeth cleaned, which will most likely make teeth brushing and dental visits easier as he or she gets older.
Avoid Letting Your Baby Fall Asleep While Nursing or Drinking a Bottle
It is common for babies to fall asleep while feeding, as the action of suckling can be very soothing and relaxing. But when it comes to your child's oral health, allowing your baby to fall asleep while breastfeeding can have horrible consequences. When a baby falls asleep while feeding, he or she typically does not swallow all of the breast milk or formula, and it pools in the mouth. As the baby begins getting teeth, the sugar in the milk can sit on the surface of the teeth and feed the bacteria that leads to tooth decay.
This type of childhood tooth decay can require a number of invasive dental treatments to correct--your best bet is to never let your baby become used to falling asleep with a bottle or while nursing.
Make Regular Dental Appointments
According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, children should have their first dental appointment by the time they turn one year old. At the first appointment, your child will not have a full cleaning like you have during your dental check ups, but it will give your child's dentist an opportunity to assess how your child's are growing in and address any problems that may be present.
For more information, contact Brit E. Bowers, DDS or a similar dental professional.Share