If your child has begun teething, you’re probably wondering how to start taking care of their brand new baby teeth! Here are five simple facts you should know as you prepare your child for a lifetime of good oral health.
- Baby teeth are actually very important. Rumor has it that we don’t need to pay as much mind to baby teeth—after all, they’re going to fall out anyway, right? Actually, you’d be surprised how important these teeth are for early development. Not only do they hold the space through which their permanent teeth will ultimately come through, but they also facilitate proper development of chewing and speaking habits.
- You can brush your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt. In order to protect your child’s teeth, instituting a good oral hygiene routine early on is very important. There are many soft-bristled toothbrushes on the market for infants. We also recommend introducing fluoride-free toothpaste in their early years (there are also toothpastes made specifically for infants.) Just brush their teeth once a night before bed. And if their teeth aren’t fully erupted, you can even wipe off their gums with a moist cloth. By brushing their teeth from the get go, you can help prevent early tooth decay and keep their mouth and gums healthy.
- You should schedule your child’s first dentist appointment within their first year. According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should have their first dentist appointment after the first tooth erupts. However, if your child’s teeth have not erupted by then, you should visit the dentist by no later than their first birthday. This will allow your dentist to ensure they’re on track to a lifetime of good oral health.
- Keeping the bottle out of the crib may save your child’s teeth. The sugars in fluids such as milk, formula, or juice can feed bacteria that can be corrosive on your child’s teeth. Extended exposure to these fluids can increase this tooth decay, as the bacteria will be working in overdrive to produce more harmful acids that break down their dental enamel. For this reason, we recommend only keeping water in the crib, and leaving fluids like milk and formula for times when they’re awake and can drink quickly.
- Pacifiers are okay… on a temporary basis. Self-soothing processes such as sucking on a pacifier or on their thumb is completely natural. That said, we do recommend weaning them off of the pacifier before the age of three. Otherwise, there is a chance this habit could negatively impact their dental alignment and speech over the years. If you find your child hasn’t organically given up on the pacifier by this age, simply call your dentist at Valley Dental Care of Plainfield for more information.
Do you think your child might be ready for their first dentist appointment? Call Valley Dental Care of Plainfield today to schedule this exciting visit at our Plainfield dental office!