Your baby’s dental health may not be the first thing that comes to mind, when you think about caring for your child. But even babies with few or no teeth still need some special care, to prevent problems both now and potentially later in life. For instance, many babies develop baby bottle tooth decay due to prolonged exposure to sugar. Not only can this cause problems for those sensitive baby teeth, it can also damage permanent teeth before they have even come in. To prevent this, though, there are simple steps you can take to keep their smiles healthy!
What Are the Best Ways to Care for Baby Teeth?
First, it is important to gently brush your baby’s gums after every feeding, with a clean washcloth. This can help remove food particles and bacteria,similar to the way brushing does for adults. And you can actually start brushing your child’s teeth when the first baby tooth begins to erupt; just don’t use toothpaste until advised to do so by your pediatric dentist.
It’s also important to put your baby to bed with only water in his or her bottle. Otherwise, the formula, milk or juice will spend a long time on teeth, potentially leading to problems.
You should also never resort to dipping your child’s pacifier in anything sweet, as this can lead to decay and also poor dietary habits.
Around your child’s first birthday, it is time to schedule his or her first dental appointment. The dentist can advise you about when and how to brush your baby’s teeth, as well as potential problems to watch for. But the dentist can also talk to you about the benefits of sealants like fluoride, which can help further protect baby teeth.