Baby teeth are small, but they are extremely important. Your child will have trouble eating and will not learn to speak clearly without a healthy set of baby teeth. This is why caring for your child’s teeth, and keeping them free of decay is vital. The habits you form together will shape your child’s future.
Here are the basic steps to setting your child on their way to a beautiful and full set of teeth. They are not in any particular order, with the first one being the exception.
- Have Great Teeth
Or, choose a partner with great teeth. Genes are real; it’s hard to ignore the science. If your Dad was a big guy, chances are, you’ll likely follow suit. The same thing goes for great teeth. Some people have better teeth than others, and it is hereditary.
Studies show that almost 60% of tooth decay risk seems to be hereditary. Specifics like saliva strength, tooth enamel, and taste preference are due to genetic factors. If your teeth are not stellar to start with, don’t despair. You still have 6 steps. These make up the other 40%.
Your child is born with 20 baby teeth already formed in the gums. These teeth generally begin to come in when your baby is 6 months old. Baby teeth, known also as primary teeth, eventually fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. A child who has decay in her baby teeth is 3 times more likely to develop decay in her adult teeth.
- Care Diligently For Your Baby’s Gums
Get in the habit of diligent oral care even before your baby sports her first tooth. Clean your baby’s gums with a damp cloth or piece of gauze.
You won’t be needing toothpaste just yet.
- Start Oral Care Early
As soon as Baby’s first tooth makes its grand entry, start brushing with water only. Wait on the toothpaste until your child is 2 years old and knows how to spit it out, instead of swallowing.
- Help Your Child Drink From a Cup
Encourage Baby to learn to drink from a regular cup by the time she has her first birthday. Bottles and “sippy” cups can contribute to what is known as baby bottle tooth decay.
- Fluoride Is Good
Despite all the controversy surrounding fluoride, fluoride exists naturally in most water supplies. Fluoride is a mineral. In the right amounts, it strengthens teeth. Fluoridated water combined with toothpaste equals less tooth decay!
- Eat Less Sugar and Eat It Less Often
The thief that is sugar plays a huge part in tooth decay. Simply put, bacteria use sugar as a form of energy. They band together to form plaque which is hard for saliva to wash away.
But, mind you, the frequency of sugar intake is more harmful to your teeth than the amount. There’s only so much sugar that bacteria can handle. Once they’ve had their fill, they’re done. But this explains why candy and soda are so terribly bad for you.
- Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Schedule your child’s first dental exam around her first birthday. You take her on healthy baby check ups, right? Her teeth need just as much attention. Besides checking for tooth decay, your dentist can offer advice on other paediatric dentistry concerns. If you have questions regarding pacifiers, thumb sucking, or dental injuries, ask your doctor.
Care for your child’s baby teeth as if they are her permanent teeth. Baby teeth are “space holders” for permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is prematurely lost, oftentimes other teeth will shift to fill the empty space. This could cause spacing issues in the future. A family dentist can advise you as to your best course of action in this case.
Make oral care a fun, family affair. These positive habits will stick with your little one long after her baby teeth have come and gone.
“This is a collaborative post”