Infant Oral Health
Every parent wants the best for their children so if you could prevent tooth decay ( caries) from forming in your own or your children’s teeth and avoid having to endure the dentist’s drill read on and take heed of a few simple points:
- 1. Get to know your child’s mouth
- 2. Check and clean your baby’s teeth as soon as they grow in
- 3. Feed your baby healthy food
- 4. Prevent baby bottle decay
- 5. Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride
- 6. Take your child to the dentist at age one year of age.
1. Get to Know your child’s mouth
Look into your baby’s mouth and you will notice teeth starting to come in from around 6 months of age. However every child is different and a while a few babies may even have teeth at birth others may not until 11 months.
(The following table outlines the pattern of tooth eruption)
Healthy teeth should be all one colour. If you see spots or stains on teeth, take your baby to the dentist.
Your child should have all their baby teeth around age 21/2 years.
2. Cleaning your baby’s teeth.
Start cleaning with a clean soft cloth or a soft toothbrush as soon as the teeth come in. At least once a day is best ideally after feeding at bedtime. Toothpaste is not needed if you have town or city water that contains fluoride. Otherwise ask your dentist’s advice about using toothpaste
3. Feed your baby healthy food
Choose safe foods that do not contain a lot of sugar. Give your child vegetables and fruit instead of biscuits , sticky snacks or sweets. Be careful to cut up foods that are choking hazards such as grapes, sausage, popcorn and nuts.
4. Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice which all have hidden sugar. Sucking on a bottle filled with sweet drinks can cause tooth decay. Cavities at this age will spread rapidly to all teeth and can cause pain. ( If you do put your baby to bed with a bottle , fill it only with water.)
During the day, do not give your baby a bottle or beaker filled with sweet drinks to use as a pacifier. Water is best.
Try to wean your baby off the bottle around 12 months.
Near his first birthday teach your child to drink from a cup instead of a bottle to help the development of his bite. Beakers should not be carried around in the mouth.
Take your child to the dentist around age one or six months after the first tooth comes in.
The earlier the visit the better the chance of prevention.
This young age is now internationally recognized among children’s healthcare experts as the best time to evaluate your child’s mouth in the same way as babies and toddlers are examined and immunized by their doctors to promote healthy growth and development.