How to Protect Your Teeth

Tips For Keeping Your Child's Baby Teeth Healthy

Even though your child's baby teeth eventually fall out, you should still work to keep them healthy. Your child could be in a lot of pain if cavities develop. Plus, strong baby teeth are needed to chew and speak properly. In addition, they act as placeholders until the permanent teeth come through. Here are a few tips that can help your child's baby teeth stay healthy and strong.

Start Dental Visits Early

Take your child to a dentist after the baby teeth start coming in and before the first birthday. This is important because it gets your child accustomed to visiting a dentist, and the dentist can oversee the development of your child's teeth. You'll also receive advice on how to clean your child's baby teeth, and how to deal with any problems that arise. Don't wait until your child is in pain before you go to a dentist for the first time, or your child may then associate pain with the dentist, and become uncooperative with future visits.

Don't Share Spoons

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria. You can introduce this bacteria into your child's mouth if you share spoons or straws that have some of your saliva on them. If you have dental decay, you should be especially careful not to let your saliva get in your child's mouth, or you might increase his or her risk of developing cavities.

Wean From The Bottle As Soon As Possible

When your child drinks from a bottle, the teeth are constantly bathed in sugars from the milk or juice. That's why you should encourage your child to drink from a cup and give up the bottle as soon as it's appropriate. Refrain from offering juice from a bottle unless you clean the teeth and gums after the feeding. Don't put your child to bed with a juice bottle. It's best for the baby teeth to feed your child and clean the teeth before going down for sleep or a nap. If your child has to have a bottle to sleep, consider one with water, or switch to a pacifier instead.

Monitor Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is completely normal for babies and small children, and most give it up before the permanent teeth come in. However, if your child continues to suck on a thumb or pacifier once the permanent teeth emerge, you should let your dentist know.

It may or may not affect the permanent teeth, but the situation should be monitored by your dentist. Also, if you give your child a pacifier, avoid coating it with something sweet, such as honey. That's not only bad for the teeth, it might also make the habit more difficult to break.

You also want to ensure your child eats a healthy diet. A healthy diet builds a strong body and healthy teeth. Avoid candy, sodas, and junk food, as these can set the stage for lifelong dental problems for your child. By promoting good health habits, practicing excellent oral hygiene, and seeing your dentist regularly, you can help your child avoid the pain and suffering of toothaches and gum disease in the coming years.

Have more questions? Contact a professional like John P Poovey DMD PC to learn more.