Can Oral Care for Babies Prevent Future Cavities?
Many people are surprised to learn that a baby’s teeth form while they are in the womb. Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, care should be taken to keep them as healthy as possible to prevent pain as well as dental visits that may lead to afear of dental treatment. Establishing good habits early in life will help lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Take your baby to the dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommend a child’s first dental visit by age one. If your child has teeth earlier than usual, their first dental visit should be 6 months after they cut their first tooth. Not only will it help prevent a fear of the dentist, it can help detect any early dental abnormalities that may lead to problems in the future.
Clean your baby’s gums and teeth. In order to get your baby used to having their teeth cleaned you can start before they even have teeth! Using a soft washcloth or soft baby toothbrush, gently wipe their gums after they drink or eat and especially before bed. Once the teeth have erupted, continue cleaning them using water or training toothpaste. You may also begin flossing your baby’s teeth once they become used to having your hands in their mouth.
Establish a Healthy Diet. Baby bottle decay is the number 1 cause of tooth loss in infants. Babies who are allowed to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice are much more likely to develop extensive decay leading to early loss of teeth. Babies’ teeth should be cleaned before bed and they should never be given a bottle to sleep with. As they get older, only water should be placed in sippy cups. Children who drink all day from sippy cups filled with juice or milk have a higher risk for cavities. Save milk and juice for meal times. Children should also be offered healthier meal and snack options as they grow. Limit sweets and carbohydrate laden snacks.
Have your own dental check-up. Cavities are contagious! If you or another caregiver have unfilled cavities you can pass the bacteria onto your children through your saliva. Be sure that you visit your dentist to make sure you are free from cavities and gum disease.