Your child’s dental health doesn’t start when their first tooth erupts, but begins as soon as they’re born. Even though your child may not yet have teeth, they do have gums which means keeping their gums healthy begins immediately. By following these tips, you can ensure that your child will have strong dental health setting them up for future oral success.
Clean the Gums
Even though it may not yet be time to start brushing your child’s teeth, that doesn’t mean that it’s too early to work on their gums. Before the teeth start to come in, you should be cleaning your child’s gums. This will keep harmful bacteria from spreading throughout your child’s mouth and will help to relieve some of the soreness caused by teething. To clean your child’s gumline, dip a clean piece of gauze in water and wrap it around your index finger. Then gently rub the finger along the gums of your child at least once a day, but preferably after each meal. If the child is teething, you can wet the corner of the gauze and place it in the freezer. This will numb the soreness felt by your child during this period.
Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Tooth decay can be a big problem for children as they advance in age. Baby bottle tooth decay is caused when sugary liquids are left in the mouth for an extended period of time or if a child falls asleep with a bottle in their mouth. To avoid this problem, it’s important to never let your child go to bed with a bottle in their mouth.
Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, it’s important to keep tooth decay away from your child. If you child’s baby teeth fall to decay, they may need to be removed. If this is done before they are meant to come out, the permanent teeth that follow will lose their guiding teeth as they come in. This could cause issued such as crowding which could result in expensive orthodontic work in the future.
Brushing Away Decay
You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as their first tooth appears. At this point, the amount of toothpaste you use should be about the size of a grain of rice and, as your child may be too young to spit the toothpaste out, it should be safe to swallow. You can purchase toothpaste for your child that is made for this specific purpose. It’s also important that you brush your child’s teeth twice a day. This will help keep those gums healthy as they get older.
Avoid Sugary Foods
When your child consumes sugary foods, it creates the ideal environment for bacteria to collect. This warm and moist environment can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay over time. Typically, your child will begin eating solid foods at about six months of age so good choices for your child’s oral health are sugar-free foods such as soft, cooked carrots and mashed sweet potatoes. These foods will satisfy your child’s sweet tooth while helping them to avoid gum disease.
Your child should have their first dental appointment by the time they reach their first birthday. They then should follow up with appointments every six months from then on. By regularly visiting the dentist, you can be alerted of any bad habits that you may be practicing or any problems that may be affecting your child’s gums.
Keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy are crucial, not only for their current dental health, but for their future dental health. Your child’s baby teeth serve as a guide for when their permanent teeth to come in. If the baby teeth come out before they should, the permanent teeth could come in the wrong place, filling in where the baby tooth vacated rather than pushing out the existing baby tooth, and could result in issues such as overcrowding. This could cause orthodontic problems in the future. Gum disease is a problem that affects nearly half of Americans over the age of 30 and is something that often starts well before then. You can help your child stay away from gum disease by starting good oral health habits early. These tips will help you get your child’s dental health off on the right foot. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist to assist in your child’s dental health, come to Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida.