The oral health of a baby and toddler is just as important as that of an adult’s. It’s best to start good oral hygiene habits early to prevent tooth damage and to encourage your children get into the habit of caring for their teeth.
Here are five oral health care tips to take care of your baby’s teeth.
1. Brush their teeth
Once babies grow their first tooth, it is best to start brushing their teeth twice daily. Use a soft baby toothbrush and a small amount of childrens fluoride toothpaste, approximately the size of a grain of rice. Using a small amount is necessary, not only because the teeth are small and there aren’t very many, but also because it minimises the amount of toothpaste swallowed.
Children learn to spit when brushing their teeth at aged 2 to 3 years and up, at this stage the amount of childrens toothpaste they should use is the size of a pea.
Children require help from an adult to ensure thorough toothbrushing until the age of around 8 to 9 years old.
Some children may be recommended by their dentist to start using adult toothpaste if they are at
high risk for tooth decay.
2. Floss their teeth
Flossing is also recommended as soon as a child has teeth that begin to touch. Flossing at least once a day removes plaque between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach.
Getting into this habit early also encourages the kids to floss as they get older, which is an important part of at-home oral health care.
3. Avoid certain foods
Sugary foods tend to cause the most damage to our teeth, so it’s best to avoid feeding your babies sweet foods and drinks
Remember that babies don’t yet have a preference for sweet foods and drinks. Sugary foods are simply something that they become used to if they eat them regularly. For example, babies do not need to drink fruit juices or sweet drinks.
Lollies and dried fruit should be limited. Foods such as white bread and pasta should also be kept to a minimum as starches can lead to tooth decay in a similar way that as sweets and lollies can.
4. Know what to feed them
Similar to knowing what not to feed your babies to prevent tooth damage, it’s important to know what food strengthens their teeth. Water with fluoride, usually present in your unfiltered tap water, is the best possible drink for babies and toddlers.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it does the same for the dentist. Chewing on crunchy fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots and celery can reduce plaque on the teeth.
Dairy foods, such as unsweetened milk and yogurt, are a prominent source of calcium and strengthen the teeth. Broccoli and other leafy green vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals to keep tooth enamel healthy. Not surprisingly, healthy foods create healthy teeth.
5. Visit a dentist
Some first-time parents assume that there is no need to see a dentist until your child has a full set of teeth. Experts recommend that a baby visits the dentist either when they get their first visible tooth or as they are approaching 12 months – whichever comes first.
It is important to understand that dentistry is as much about gums and the inside of the mouth as it is about teeth. Dental health check ups should begin at a young age to prevent tooth decay as the child grows up.
Does your child need his or her first dental check up? Frankston City Dental offers a range of services and specialises in anxious patients and child dental care. To book an appointment, call us on (03) 9770 0862 .