Dental Care for Babies and Young Children
Do you want your children to maintain those healthy gleaming pearly whites as they grow older? Well, who would not want that?
Well, are you ready to learn the ultimate secret in having a perfect set of teeth? Well, brace yourselves for this – it’s plain good old dental hygiene!
Have you ever thought for a moment that there will be some rocket-science revelations in here? Sorry if this disappointed you, but the secret really lies in establishing a good dental routine at an early age (as soon as the first milk tooth appears!).
A baby with good dental hygiene may be able to avoid various dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and abscesses. Mind you, these dental problems are not only painful – they may even require a treatment or two, which can be quite costly as well! Plus, good dental hygiene may have a lasting effect on his or her facial appearance and speech development as well.
Encouraging the Development of Healthy Milk Teeth
Your baby’s teeth start to develop even before he or she is born. When your baby is about 6 to 9 months old, the first tooth (also called milk tooth or deciduous tooth) will normally start to appear.
Take care of your baby’s milk teeth as if they were gold. They will serve as the foundation of how the mature teeth will eventually form.
How Can You Prevent Dental Problems in Babies? Aside from proper brushing and regular dental visits, there are still several things that you can do to make sure that your baby’s or any younger child’s teeth remain healthy. Here are some suggestions that you may find useful:
o Load up on calcium. Make sure that your baby drinks enough milk and starts eating calcium-rich foods when he or she is old enough to do so. This will help ensure proper teeth development and may help maintain good dental health as well.
oSay no to sugar! Steer away from sugar-rich foods and drinks. You may also want to try sugar-free medications whenever possible.
o Minimize contact with sugar – Sugar is not in any way good for your baby’s dental health. However, if it cannot be avoided, try to feed your baby with sugary foods only during mealtimes. It will minimize the amount of time that the sweet foods spend in your child’s mouth and may help lessen the risk of developing dental problems later on.
o Do not add sugar in a baby’s bottle. Sugary drinks in baby’s bottle are an absolute no-no since it can play a significant part in promoting dental decay. When feeding your baby with juice, dilute it first and have him or her take it from a cup.
o Opt for healthy alternatives – Offer your baby some cheese or fruits as snacks between meals. These contain essential nutrients vital for good dental health.
o Children sucking their thumb or fingers should be discouraged from doing so. This is an unhealthy dental habit that can affect the development of your baby’s teeth.
o Try to avoid using dummies (also known as pacifiers). These can also affect your baby’s teeth. And please, if you are going to use them anyway, don’t dip them in honey or fruit juices! That will do twice the damage!