Six Simple Steps to Keep Baby’s Mouth in Tip-Top Shape
Looking at your infant’s toothless—or near toothless—smile, you may wonder why there is any reason to worry about establishing good dental health practices at such a tender age. The fact is that even before teeth emerge, a baby’s mouth is subject to the same sorts of bacteria found in the adult mouth. Failure to keep your child’s gums and emergent teeth healthy and clean can result in dental problems down the road.
Baby bottle tooth decay is the name given to one of the most common dental problems faced by infants and very young children. Sugars from both sweetened and unsweetened drinks, such as fruit juice, formula and even milk, provide an ideal habitat for harmful bacteria to thrive.
Long ago, many parents felt that because they were not permanent, baby teeth were expendable and there was no need to address cavities that might develop in them. In fact, healthy baby teeth play a critical role in helping a young child develop chewing and speaking skills, while serving as placeholders for the adult teeth that will eventually replace them. Baby teeth that are not cared for properly can cause pain and infection and may need to be extracted. Missing baby teeth can cause adult teeth to come in crooked or cause deformation of the oral cavity.
Fortunately, caring for a baby’s gums and teeth is a pretty simple process:
- Even before teeth emerge, wipe the baby’s gums with a soft cloth after each feeding.
- Establish regular brushing after the first tooth emerges, but avoid toothpaste until your child is able to keep from swallowing it.
- Avoid beverages with added sugar.
- Never allow your baby to sleep with a bottle that contains anything other than water. If your child already has sugary drinks in his or her bottle, wean your child from the practice by diluting the beverage until it is all water.
- Focus on healthy snacks rather than sugary between-meal treats.
And the most important step: Bring your child into KiDDS Dental before the age of one year to help us identify any potential problems and provide guidance that can help ensure that your child enjoys a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)891-7070.