24. October 2011 09:40
The good news is that tooth decay is almost totally preventable. Here are some tips to help keep your child's teeth healthy:
- Lower the risk of the baby's infection with decay-causing bacteria. This can be done in two ways. Improving the oral health of the caregivers, which reduces the amount of bacteria in their mouth and by not sharing saliva with the baby through the common use of spoons or licking cleaning the pacifier prior to giving them back to the baby?
- After each feeding wipe the baby's gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth. This will remove plaque and food that can harm erupting teeth. Once your child's teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child's size tooth brush and water. It is normally not recommended to use fluoride toothpaste before age two.
- When your child can be counted on to spit and not swallow toothpaste, begin brushing the teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. The ADA recommends fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush your child's teeth until they are at least six years old and even then you should consider "finishing up" for them for as many years as you can.
- Never place liquids such as soft drinks, juice, or sugary water in a bottle.
- Infant should finish their bottles before they go to bed.
- Only use a pacifier that is clean... no dipping in anything or putting it in your mouth before giving it to your child.
- Encourage children to drink from a cup by age one and discourage frequent and prolonged use of sippy cups.
- Encourage healthy eating habits and minimize sugary snacks.
- Ensure your child has adequate exposure to fluoride.
The ADA recommends your child's first dental visit at age one. This seems a little early to me. We usually tell parents to bring them in around 18 months to 2 years.
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