How to "Baby" Your Baby's Teeth- In a Good Way
It’s Children’s Dental Health Month, which includes babies, too! The habits formed from an early age can last a lifetime…here are some tidbits to help get your kiddos on the right track:
•Before your baby’s first tooth becomes visible in the mouth, wipe the mouth every day with a soft, moist washcloth.
•As soon as teeth become visible in the mouth, brush the teeth and gums with a small soft bristle toothbrush that contains a pea-sized amount of non-fluoride toothpaste.
•Brush your baby’s teeth at least twice each day—once in the morning and once at night. Remember, the most important time to brush your baby’s teeth is right before bedtime, to ensure a “clean slate” after all of the food and liquids your baby’s had throughout the day.
•Singing silly songs and making brushing time fun can go a long way towards making brushing time more pleasant for everyone involved…the lyrics “Brush, brush, brush your teeth” are a timeless ace in the hole for this, and are well-suited to sing along with countless melodies, such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, “Jingle Bells”, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, the “William Tell Overture”.
•Avoid giving your baby sticky foods and unhealthy snacks like candy, soda, sugary drinks, or juice in-between meals. Instead, give your baby healthy snacks like cheese, yogurt, or fruit.
•Establish bedtime routines that do not involve using the bottle filled with milk or juice to soothe the baby to sleep. Also avoid having the baby sleep with a bottle filled with milk or juice as the natural sugars in these liquids will change to acid, which will rot or decay the teeth and lead to eventual dental infection and pain. Avoid having your baby drink from a sippy cup filled with juice between meals as well.
•If you see white spots developing on your baby’s teeth, contact a dentist for evaluation, as white spots are often the first sign of a dental cavity.
•Schedule your baby’s first visit with a dentist when he or she is 12-18 months old.
Dr. Valle Wilhite Rischer of Dentistry by Design in Columbia, Missouri, has extensive experience working with children’s patients. She and her team do so in a fun and caring manner, to ensure that kiddos of all ages are comfortable.