Baby’s healthy teeth
Care of the childrens’ teeth should start at an early age. Chiswick Dental can ensure that today’s children can grow up without any decay (holes) in their teeth, but they need help from their parents and the dentist. Early and continuing care is necessary to ensure a lifetime of good dental health for children.
BEFORE BABY’S FIRST TOOTH
Since baby (primary) teeth begin forming before birth a well balanced diet providing all the nutrients your body needs is necessary for the development of your baby’s healthy teeth.
A balanced diet is achieved by eating a variety of foods from all the different food groups; including meats, fish, dairy foods, fresh fruits, vegetables and cereals. There is no evidence that the normal balanced diet of a young woman need be any different during pregnancy.
Even before the first tooth is present you should check your baby’s mouth from time to time to make sure everything appears normal.
TAKING CARE OF “BABY” TEETH
“Baby” teeth can develop holes from the first time they begin to appear (usually between 6 and 10 months of age). Baby teeth are important to your child’s future dental health.
These teeth are also important for proper chewing and eating, to provide space for the second (permanent) teeth and guide them into position, and to allow normal development of the jawbones and muscles. They also affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance of your baby.
“NURSING BOTTLE MOUTH”
Nursing bottle mouth is the dental condition that can destroy the teeth of an infant or young child. The condition is caused by the frequent exposure of the child’s teeth, for long periods of time, to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk formula, fruit juices and other sweetened liquids. All types of sugars found in these liquids can cause bacteria in plaque to produce acids.
However it’s not just what is put into your child’s bottle that is important but how often — and for how long a time. You should be aware of the danger of offering your child a bottle containing these liquids very frequently between meals as a pacifier. Likewise allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle during naps or at night can do serious harm to your baby’s teeth.
HOW TO PREVENT NURSING BOTTLE MOUTH
Sometimes it is not realised that a baby’s teeth are able to become decayed as soon as they appear in the mouth. By the time decay is noticed it may be too late to save your child’s teeth. This can be prevented from happening by learning how to protect them by following a few simple rules:
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk formula, fruit juices, or sweetened liquids.
- If your child needs a comforter between regular feeds, at night, or during naps, fill a feeding bottle with cool water.
TOOTH CARE AT HOME FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Parents should be responsible for cleaning the teeth during the early years and for checking that teeth are cleaned regularly and property throughout childhood. When the first teeth show begin by using a child-size toothbrush with a straight handle and soft, round bristles. You may prefer to use a clean gauze pad or washcloth to clean these first teeth.
Brushing should be done at some point during the day and, most importantly, before bedtime. Brush your child’s teeth thoroughly, making sure to get all the food and debris off the tops and sides.
Starting early with regular home dental care is important in looking after your children’s teeth and helps them develop good habits that will continue when they are old enough to do the job alone or with minimal supervision.
FIRST VISIT TO THE DENTIST
We recommend that you bring your baby or infant with you at your normal regular maintenance visit. This is their first introduction to our environment. We like to encourage them to explore, touch and hear. When they are ready they will have their first “ride” on the chair. This gradual, friendly introduction leaves a positive impression in the child’s mind.
All too often we hear parents commenting on the fact that “the Dentist might take their teeth out if they eat too many sweets” These negative images should be avoided, as children do not understand adult humour and reason.
TOOLS FOR PREVENTION
Much has changed since today’s parents were children. Great improvements have been made in reducing dental decay. With new ways to prevent decay, dentists believe all children can grow up without tooth decay with both proper care at home and regular trips to the dentist.
One of the most important and effective ways of preventing tooth decay is fluoride, which combines with tooth enamel to make the tooth more resistant to decay. It is estimated that the use of fluoride can reduce dental decay by up to 50% leading to healthier teeth.
Dentists advise the use of fluoride toothpastes for children which should be used twice daily. Today over 95% of all toothpastes contain fluoride.
Some community water supplies contain fluoride either naturally or added in very small amounts, which will also help to protect the teeth.