Just because your baby’s teeth aren’t visible on their gum yet doesn’t mean don’t need to be cared for. Nevertheless, good dental care should begin before your baby’s first tooth appears.
Caring for your child’s oral health from birth is a priority up till when they start to lose the milk teeth and the permanent teeth start to come in.
Besides, caring for your child’s teeth during their early years will make all the difference in the long run and help your child lower the risk of major dental issues later in life.
Equally, strong oral care helps set good dental habits as your child grows.
On the contrary, poor oral care can lead to infection, disease, or other teeth related problems like cavities or tooth decay – which can also affect your child’s ability to chew and eat – resulting in poor nutritional health.
So, whether your child still has baby teeth, permanent teeth or a mix of both, taking care of the child’s teeth is important for many reasons.
After all, those teeth will help your child eat, talk and will last your kids for the rest of their lives. So give special care and attention to the health of your child’s teeth and gums. Have a tough time deciding how much dental care your kids need or how to care for your child’s teeth?
Here are some tips to help you care for their teeth.
- Take Care of Gums from Day One
Your child’s dental care should begin before the child starts growing teeth. Get in the habit of wiping your baby’s gums off after each feeding. There are a few ways you can do this:
Clean your baby’s gums after every meal by wiping them with a damp cloth or damp cotton wool.
This step will remove bacteria and food particles from the gums.
On the other hand, when the teeth start to develop, place a little amount of fluoride toothpaste on a damp cloth and gently clean your baby’s teeth.
- Keep Sugary Drinks and Food to a Minimum
Unfortunately, cavities are a reality for many children– will develop one at some point.
That’s why as a parent, you need to take special care to help prevent cavities. One of the best ways to do this is to limit sugary food and drinks in your child’s diet.
Usually, when sugar and starch mix up with normal bacteria in the mouth, they can create acids that dissolve the tooth’s structure, cause cavities or encourage bacteria growth and plaque build-up in the mouth – which can be difficult to fully wash out of your child’s mouth
So, the more a child eats sugar and processed snacks, the more often the child’s teeth are exposed to the acids.
Although, a no-snack rule is unrealistic, instead, offer more fruits, vegetables, and enough water as substitutes for processed treats in order to help prevent acids from settling on their teeth and stave off tooth decay.
- Be On The Lookout For Dental Issues
Taking your child to the dentist every 6 months will ensure you catch any dental issues before they become a larger problem. Even so, there are a few things you can keep an eye out for between visits.
Watch your child for signs of:
- Grinding teeth at night
- Speech lisp
- Excessive mouth breathing
If you notice these or any other worrisome dental signs, schedule a visit with your dentist.
- Always supervise kids younger than 6 while brushing
Kids can develop tooth decay if good dental habits aren’t practised.
However, as teeth begin to budge out of your child’s gum, continue to clean your child’s gums and teeth after every feeding. But as time goes on, encourage and teach your child how to hold the toothbrush and brush the teeth correctly.
It’s no news that young kids don’t like adults help them brush their teeth, they prefer and like to do it themselves. Since they are kids, you can’t be guaranteed the teeth will be properly brushed or clean.
Instead of leaving it all to them, you should supervise and guide them on the proper way to brush the teeth.
Importantly, you should also demonstrate and teach your child how to spit out toothpaste in order to minimize the toothpaste that is swallowed.
- Be Careful with Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking
It’s normal for babies to suck their thumbs, their fingers or a pacifier.
However, most children give up this habit on their own by the time they approach their 4th birthday. Nevertheless, prolonged use can cause problems with teeth alignment.
Talk to your dentist if your child still has a sucking habit after age 4 so that they can watch out for dental problems as your child’s teeth develop especially when the permanent front teeth come in.
To avoid issues, make sure you eliminate both of these habits by the age of If you can, encourage a pacifier over the thumb since this habit can be more challenging to stop.
- Visit the Dentist
Advisably, let your children see a dentist by their first birthday.
At this first visit, the dentist will recommend and explain proper oral cleaning techniques for your child.
In addition, this can also help you detect if your child may need an oral surgeon for jaw realignment or any other oral deformity.
Your child should see a dentist by the first birthday because early preventive care will save you money in the long run.
- Control the Sippy Cup
Apparently, a Sippy cup can help your child transit from a feeding bottle to a glass.
Regardless, don’t let your child drink from the Sippy all day long because prolonged usage can lead to decay on the back of the front teeth if the drinks are sugary.
In addition, it is also recommended that you don’t let your baby fall asleep with a feeding bottle because babies who sleep with a bottle of milk, formula, fruit juice, or other drink can also develop severe tooth decay.
If you must put your baby to bed with a bottle, fill it with cool water.
To sum it all up, oral hygiene in itself is not only about the teeth, it refers to taking care of the mouth in general.
So, don’t discard your child’s dental care because of their age. The sooner you start caring for their teeth the better – and the more they’ll know the importance of good oral hygiene and prepare them to care for their oral health themselves.