Dental care for babies and young children

Do you want your kids to keep those healthy shiny pearly whites as they get older? Well, who wouldn’t want that?

Well, are you ready to learn the ultimate secret about having perfect teeth? Well, brace yourself for this – it’s just good old dental hygiene!

Have you ever thought for a second that there will be rocket science revelations 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 baby teeth appear!).

A baby with good oral hygiene may be able to prevent various dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and abscesses. Mind you, these dental problems aren’t just painful – they may even require a treatment or two, which can also be quite costly! In addition, good oral hygiene can also have a lasting effect on his or her facial expression and speech development.

Stimulate the development of healthy milk teeth

Your baby’s teeth begin to develop before he or she is born. When your baby is about 6 to 9 months old, the first tooth (also known as baby tooth or milk tooth) will normally come through.

Take care of your baby’s milk teeth as if they were made of gold. They will serve as the foundation of how the adult teeth will eventually form.

How can you prevent dental problems in babies? Aside from good brushing and regular dental visits, there are several things you can do to help keep your baby’s or younger child’s teeth healthy. Here are some suggestions you may find helpful:

o Recharge calcium. Make sure your baby is drinking enough milk and starting to eat calcium rich foods when he or she is old enough to do so. This ensures proper development of the teeth and can also help maintain good dental health.

o Say no to sugar! Steer clear of sugary foods and drinks. You may also want to try sugar-free medications whenever possible.

o Minimize contact with sugar – Sugar is not good for your baby’s dental health in any way. However, if it cannot be avoided, try to feed your baby with sugary foods only at mealtimes. It minimizes the amount of time the sweet foods spend in your child’s mouth and can help reduce the risk of developing dental problems later on.

o Do not add sugar to a baby bottle. Sugary drinks in baby bottles are an absolute no-no, as it can play an important role in promoting tooth decay. If you give your baby juice, dilute it first and let him or her take it from a cup.

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o Opt for healthy alternatives – Offer your baby some cheese or fruit as a snack between meals. These contain essential nutrients vital for good dental health.

o Children who suck 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 pacifiers (also called pacifiers). These can also affect your baby’s teeth. And if you’re going to use them, don’t dip them in honey or fruit juices! That will do twice the damage!