Caring For Your Child’s First teeth
Baby teeth…they take forever to break through, cause no end of pain and sleepless nights and they create the cheekiest of smiles that melt our hearts. Given how much effort goes into cutting teeth, it seems only right that we put a big effort into ensuring they stay clean and healthy as long as they possibly can.
So how do we keep these little pieces of cuteness looking good and as healthy as possible?
1. Keep sugar out of your child’s diet. Sugar causes cavities and when left on the teeth for any length of time it sets about destroying the delicate teeth that are baby teeth.
2. Milk and water are the only two things your child needs to drink. Juice, soft drink, cordial etc. are not only bad for their general health but they are deadly on teeth.
3. Babies and children (in fact none of us) don’t need sugar, sweets or any pre-made foods that are often laden with sugar. Ensure any snacks are healthy ones such as fruits and vegetables and not store bought, pre-made snack foods.
4. Always offer fresh water after a meal to help remove any food residue still sitting in the mouth.
5. Don’t put your baby to sleep with a bottle. This allows the milk to remain in the mouth and on the teeth for extended periods of time.
6. As soon as the teeth appear, start getting bub used to using a soft toothbrush designed for baby teeth. Make it a game not a chore. Allow them to suck on it and play with it in their mouth to get used to the feel of it. Lead by example and they will want to emulate you brushing your teeth.
7. Water is all you need to clean your baby’s teeth. Until the age of 18 months it is recommended that you only use plain water to clean a baby’s teeth and after 18 months a natural toothpaste can be introduced in pea size amounts.
8. Introduce a cup as soon as bub can hold a bottle. You don’t have to replace all bottle feeds with a cup however, cutting daytime bottles and replacing with a cup will help in keeping the teeth as healthy as possible.
9. Ensure your child has had their first dental check up by the age of 2 and ensure they have regular check-ups after that to stay on top of good dental hygiene and get used to visiting the dentist.
10. Don’t create drama around brushing their teeth. Make it an enjoyable time that they want to take part in rather than getting angry or frustrated if they won’t brush their teeth. Use sticker rewards or play their favourite song while they brush their teeth so they learn it is a fun and healthy thing to do.