In our daily routine, I was like most parents. I gave my sons a bath, got them into their pajamas, and both my boys drifted off to sleep drinking their bottles filled with milk. Seems harmless right? I, like many other parents, was dead wrong about that! After learning that the milk in my children’s mouth will linger and eat away at their enamel, I had to change my ways. I couldn’t bear strip my sons of those precious baby teeth. The truth is parents, bottles and pacifiers used in the baby’s first years can contribute to tooth decay.
To help you get the facts, I’ve outlined some of the most important things to keep in mind for your baby’s oral care.
Only use water in bottles before bed.
Milk, formula, juices and other sweet drinks such as soda all have sugar in them. Sucking on a bottle filled with sugary liquids can cause tooth decay. Only water should be used for nap or bedtime bottles. Or, try using a pacifier instead.
Wipe your baby’s gums after feedings, even before he or she has teeth.
Wiping the gums helps promote production of saliva and good oral health.
Brush teeth as soon as you see them.
Clean your baby’s teeth as soon as they come in with a clean, soft cloth or a baby’s toothbrush. Clean the teeth at least once a day. It’s best to clean them right before bedtime.
Don’t put your baby’s pacifier in your mouth.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth. You can pass bacteria to the baby through your saliva. Wash that binky with water, instead.
Children should have their first dental checkup by one year old.
A baby’s first visit to the dentist should be made by the first birthday, or within six months after the first tooth erupts, whichever comes first.
Setting your children on the right path is vital to life-long good oral health. By teaching them the habits of brushing and visiting the dentist, they will decrease their chance of tooth decay. For more information on children and good oral health