Baby teeth have several vital functions in your child’s mouth and therefore are necessary to keep healthy until they naturally become loose and fall out. Baby teeth help your child with talking, biting, chewing and smiling. Baby teeth are also the space holders for adult teeth, and if they are lost prematurely, they can cause problems with the spacing and alignment of the future adult teeth. Cavities and infections of baby teeth can also cause your child unnecessary pain and distress. Your baby will get their first baby teeth around six months old and lose their last baby teeth around 12 years old, so there are many years of critical care.
Listed below are ways to help keep your child’s smile healthy.
- Even before any teeth erupt in your baby’s mouth, begin by using a damp cloth or gauze to clean their gums before bed
- When the first baby teeth erupt around six months old, start using a small toothbrush with bristles to clean the teeth after milk and before bed
- Never dip their soother in anything sweet
- Only put milk or water in their bottle. Juice has lots of sugar that can lead to cavities
- Try not to put your baby to bed at night with their bottle. The constant bathing of the teeth in milk can cause cavities
- Work at eliminating the soother or thumb sucking habit around the age of 2-3, as both of these habits can cause permanent alignment issues with the teeth and jaw
- Start using fluoridated toothpaste around the age of 3 (all you need is a small dot, about the size of the tip of a pen!)
- Reduce your child’s intake of sugary foods, in particular, any foods that are gummy, chewy or sticky. They get stuck in the biting surfaces of teeth and lead to cavities
- Begin helping your child floss around the age of 4, this is when the contacts in their molars close in, and a toothbrush is no longer sufficient
- If your child is particularly cavity-prone, get them to use a fluoride mouth wash or products containing xylitol, which will help reduce the cavity risk
- Help your child with brushing and flossing until the age of 7 or 8
- If your child has a fall or injury that affects their mouth, or if they complain of pain in their mouth, it is essential for them to see their dentist
- Make sure to bring your child to the dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning appointments with their dentist and dental hygienist. During these visits, their teeth and gums will be assessed, and brushing and flossing will be reviewed
If you have any questions about ways to keep your child’s smile healthy, contact us today to schedule an appointment.