Promoting Good Dental Health In Your Family
Oral Care For Babies and Young Children
By: kieransmom on: Wed 30 of May, 2007 [22:43 UTC] (2014 reads)
There are several things that you can do to promote good dental health in your children. It's important to protect baby teeth, because the health of your child's first teeth indicates the future health of his permanent teeth. Tooth decay and abscesses are painful, can lead to serious illnesses, yet are preventable.
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Make sure that throughout your pregnancy, you get good prenatal care and eat nutritious foods. Your baby's ability to fight cavities develops in utero, so remember to take your vitamins and avoid cigarette smoke. Take precautions to avoid preterm birth if possible, and to also avoid cesarean birth, as those have been found to be risk factors for dental caries.
- Avoid Transmission of Bacteria -
Your entire family should practice good oral health care and visit the dentist every six months. Don't share forks or cups with small children to avoid transmitting bacterias that cause dental caries.
Even for the smallest baby, get into the habit of taking a clean, soft cloth and wiping your baby's gums and tongue twice a day. This will help maintain a healthy oral pH and remove excess bacteria. And after the first tooth erupts, start using a toothbrush twice a day. Bedtime is an important brushing time. At the age of two, start using a flouride toothpaste. If your child is prone to reflux, or gets some virus that causes vomiting, thoroughly clean the mouth after each incident.
- Check Your Child's Teeth Regularly -
Vigilantly watch your child's teeth for any signs of dental caries. Take your baby to the dentist within six months of the first tooth, and every six months thereafter, or immediately if you see an abnormal spot on a tooth.
Promote Healthy Eating Habits From An Early Age And As Your Kids Grow By -
- Exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. Human milk contains minerals and immunities that fight dental caries.
- Continue breastfeeding with the addition of healthy foods, for as long as mutually desired by you and your baby.
- Bedtime bottles should only contain water. Never go to bed with a bottle of formula, milk, or juice.
- If you use a pacifier, don't dip it into sugar water or syrup!
- Strictly limit the consumption of sugary snacks, especially those that stick to the teeth, like raisins, lollipops, cough drops.
- If nighttime nursing, practice removing your sleeping baby from the breast and settling him on his back so that he is sure to swallow the last mouthful of milk.
- Strictly limit carbonated sodas.
- Sippy cups should not contain anything but water.
- Teach your baby to drink from a regular cup when he is able, usually at age one or sometime in the second year.
- Juice should be given only at mealtimes.
- Encourage kids to eat foods that have been shown to prevent dental caries. Whole grain breads take longer to chew, therefore promote saliva production. Eating whole fruits and raw vegetables is a better habit than drinking juices, and also take a longer time to chew. Cheese and other milk products actually have a cariostatic effect in the mouth, inhibiting dental caries because they contain calcium, phosphorus, and casein. Some other foods that promote chewing and salivation are peanuts, chewing gum, and hard cheese.
- Teach kids that some foods promote tooth decay and erosion. Examples of highly acidic foods are citrus fruits, pickles, sodas, and sports drinks and should be followed by a cariostatic food such as cheese (or rinse with plain water) if brushing is not possible.