Children’s teeth go through phases requiring different kinds of parental care. Even baby teeth are important and need to be cared for – they don?t just allow a child to eat and speak, they also are place holders for the adult teeth that will grow in later.
Avoid sweet and sticky snack foods that cling to new teeth and encourage the bacterial growth that can cause cavities. Choose nutrient rich foods like yogurt, hard boiled eggs, cold pizza slices, veggies with dip, or a bagel and peanut butter for snacks. Give your child a drink of clear water after eating to clear the extra food particles out of her mouth – less fuel for cavity-causing bacteria!
As soon as a child has his first tooth, he is at risk of developing cavities. Although you will probably pass cavity-causing bacteria to your child just by kissing him, you can help him avoid Early Childhood Cavities (ECC) – a severe form of tooth decay in baby teeth that leaves him at higher risk of developing cavities in adult teeth. You can prevent this with a low-sugar diet, and by not letting him fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice in his mouth.
Age Appropriate Tips:
Infants & Toddlers – First teeth erupt from the gum by about six months. It can be a painful process, causing drooling, crankiness, red cheeks and swollen gums. Massaging the gums with a clean finger can help, as can giving her a cold washcloth or teething ring to chew. Teething does not cause fever, runny nose, or diarrhea – if your baby has these symptoms take her to the doctor. Clean your baby’s teeth by brushing twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and water or fluoride-free toothpaste.
Three to Six – Train her how to brush and floss properly by standing behind her in front of the mirror while she brushes and check afterwards to make sure she’s done a good job. Don’t start using fluoridated toothpaste until she can rinse and spit properly.
Seven or Eight – His baby teeth will fall out starting at around age six and continuing until age 12. Supervise his brushing and flossing occasionally.
- Make your baby’s first dental visit before her first birthday
- Schedule regular visits with a dental hygienist
- Make use of your dental hygienist?s experience and knowledge to help you care for your child’s oral health.