Protecting Baby Teeth
If infants and toddlers don’t even have many baby teeth yet, why is dental health so important? You might feel that you’ve got bigger things to worry about. BUT, your habits with your baby can determine how cavity-prone they are for the rest of their lives!
Here are the top five things you should (and shouldn’t) do to protect your baby’s teeth.
Tip #1: DO NOT put your baby to bed with a bottle
Have you ever seen little children with silver teeth in front? This is why.
When your child falls asleep with a bottle in their mouth, the juice or milk from the bottle sits around their teeth all night. The mouth’s natural cleaning mechanisms cannot function and your baby’s teeth will begin to rot.
If you put your baby to bed with a bottle of anything but water, you receive this guarantee: your children WILL get cavities.
Tip #2: How do you clean your binkies?
The state of mom’s mouth can affect baby dramatically. How?
As a mom, do you ever feed your baby with your spoon or clean off their pacifier by popping it in your own mouth? When you do, the bacteria in your mouth enters your baby’s mouth. Big deal? Don’t just gloss over this, it is important.
Some bacteria are more harmful for teeth than others. If you have more destructive bacteria in your mouth, you will be more cavity-prone than someone with less malicious bacteria. If mom doesn’t do her job of brushing and flossing, that malicious bacteria will become abundant in her mouth and will pass easily to the baby, setting them up for dental difficulties before their teeth even come in completely!
Tip #3: Feed your child toothpaste….What?
Fluoride, like calcium, strengthens bones and teeth. This is one of many reasons multiple cities have decided to fluoridate their water. What does this have to do with babies?
Even as an infant, your baby’s permanent teeth are growing inside their jawbone. Especially if your water is not fluoridated (but even if it is), you can fortify your baby’s teeth by giving them a rice-sized bit of fluoride toothpaste to swallow everyday. It might sound odd or even gross to you as an adult, but the benefits for the baby are undeniable.
Tip #4: Not all pacifiers are created equal
Have you heard of “orthodontic pacifiers?” There is a reason they have that name. Generic binkies that are the same shape upside-down and right-side-up have been shown to affect a baby’s teeth and jaw alignment. For less chance of an overbite or open bite, buy the pacifiers that are flat on one side.
Tip #5: A special 1st birthday present
Take your baby to the dentist before they are a year old. Decay can begin as soon as the teeth erupt. The dentist can help you learn how to best care for your baby’s teeth and let you know of warning signs specific to your child. Just remember, prevention is healthier, cheaper, and smarter than treatment!
Follow these tips and set your baby up for a future of great oral health!