We all want what is best for our children. We want them to be happy and most importantly, healthy. The training for their health is a parents job that begins at birth and continues for the rest of our lives.
Dental Health is Important
As baby teeth begin to appear within the first few months after birth, we get excited. We proudly show off the photos of the smiles as those landmark teeth begin to show. But that is also exactly the time that it is imperative that you, as a parent, start to teach them proper dental hygiene habits.
My Baby is Getting Teeth, Now What?
As the teeth begin to protrude from their gums, they are counting on you to help them take care of them. No matter how much they cry, brush their teeth for them so that they may stay strong and healthy. There are many pastes made specifically for infants with less sugar or abrasives. After every meal, be it breast, bottle or beginnings of solid, their teeth need to be cleaned. Even if they are just nubs that are barely visible past the gums, you want to keep them strong.
When Should I Take Them to the Dentist?
The American Dental Association strongly recommends that you bring your child in for their first dental checkup between 6 to 12 months old. Your child’s pediatrician may handle this visit. By age three, though, your child will be ready for a first visit to the dentist. This will ensure that your child’s teeth are in good shape and instill healthy habits to last a lifetime.
No Bottles In Bed
As an exhausted parent, you may want to have the break of giving your crying baby a bottle to help soothe them back to sleep. This is a perfectly natural desire. But the sugars from mother’s milk, formula, or juice in the bottle will coat their teeth causing erosion to the enamel that is just forming. Plain water is best at naptime or bedtime. Pacifiers can be helpful in times of great stress for you and the baby, but be sure not to dip them in anything like honey or juice, as that will allow those natural sugars to invade the teeth that are just coming out, and also the ones that are about to break through the gums.
Start Dental Health Habits Early
As they get more teeth, continue to brush their teeth for them, but also guide their hand in the process. Allow them to look at themselves in the mirror as (you) they are brushing. This is so that it becomes a habit. When that sink turns on and the brush comes out, even a baby will know that it is time to brush the teeth. As they get older, continue this no less than twice a day so that by the time they are toddlers it is like second nature to your child.