Are you welcoming a New Year’s baby this year, or expecting one later in the season? If so, and especially if it is your first child, you have probably already begun reading parenting books and soliciting advice from seasoned parents. But has any of that research covered your baby’s dental needs? Many first-time parents can overlook the dangers of poor dental choices early on in a child’s life. Luckily, caring for babies before and after their teeth erupt can be quite simple, and can help set your kid up for a lifetime of great oral health. So take your children’s dentist’s advice, and be sure to follow some simple steps designed to keep your beautiful baby’s smile healthy now, and for many years to come.
Do Baby Teeth Really Need Care?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a common problem for babies of all ages. It can lead to baby teeth being lost prematurely, which can potentially cause damage to non-visible permanent teeth, and may even cause problems for your child’s gum health or teeth’s alignment. Fortunately protecting baby teeth from decay is quite simple.
- After every feeding, you can gently wipe your baby’s gums clean with a clean washcloth. This quick act can help remove sugar and food particles from the surface of teeth and gums, preventing acid development that can be caused by bacteria in the mouth.
- You should never put a baby to bed with a bottle filled with any substance other than water. That’s because prolonged exposure to even milk or formula can cause dental problems.
- Don’t get in the habit of dipping your child’s pacifier in sugar. This is unnecessary, and can create cravings for sugar, which can be hard to beat. Sucking on sugar can also lead to dental decay.
- Around your baby’s first birthday, you should take him or her for a first dental checkup, during which your dentist can talk to you about the benefit of sealants and other preventive measures.