When it comes to your child’s teeth, we have some good news and some bad news. First, the good news: fewer children are getting cavities!
So what’s the bad news? Kids between the ages of 2 and 11 have 1.6 decayed primary teeth and 3.6 decayed surfaces on average.
An easy way to prevent oral decay or disease is to establish healthy habits when your child is an infant. Here are a few infant oral care tips to help you keep your young one’s teeth healthy and strong.
1. Wipe Your Infant’s Gums
Many people believe that oral health practices should begin when a child’s first tooth begins to erupt. On the contrary, your little one’s teeth are only one part of a much more delicate ecosystem.
While your child’s teeth are important, you’ll want to start cleaning their mouth well before their first tooth comes in.
To clean your child’s mouth, you’ll need some water and a piece of gauze. Dampen the gauze and place it around your index finger. Then, gently rub your infant’s gums and tongue.
2. Tips for Brushing
Every child gets their first tooth at a slightly different time. However, on average, infants begin teething between the ages of 4 and 6 months.
Until the first tooth (or teeth) erupts, continue with the washing method mentioned above. Once their teeth are visible, you can begin brushing by using a soft-bristled baby toothbrush and a rice-sized dollop of toothpaste.
Contrary to previous suggestions, the ADA notes that fluoride-based toothpaste should be fine as long as you rinse your child’s mouth thoroughly.
3. Plan Your First Dentist Visit Early
It’s recommended that you schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist 6 months after your child’s first tooth comes in, or before their first birthday.
These first few dental appointments are quite important. They provide an opportunity to ask your child’s dentist any questions you may have, and you’ll get plenty of tips on keeping your little one’s smile bright.
4. Learn What’s in Your Baby’s Food
Most baby foods seem healthy enough, touting fruits and vegetable blends on their labels. But the truth is rather startling.
On average, baby foods contain added sugars, which can contribute to oral decay. Before buying jars of baby food, research brands that don’t add sugars to their foods.
5. Limit Bottle Access
Sugary foods aren’t the only concern. It’s also crucial that you limit your infant’s access to bottles.
While you should, of course, provide your infant with a bottle when they’re hungry, it’s a good idea to take it away once they’re finished eating. Most infants let their food sit in their mouth.
Though that might seem harmless enough, excess bottle access can speed up dental deterioration. Also, sucking on bottles can lead to gaps in your child’s teeth or cause crowding.
Infant Oral Care Tips for Healthy Baby Teeth
These tips should be enough to get you started. But remember, it’s important to make regular visits to your local dentist.
If you have any questions about these or other infant oral care tips or you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dupont Dental Associates, be sure to get in touch.