Baby teeth are not only cute — they’re important to your baby’s oral health and growth.
Why baby teeth are important
Your baby needs strong baby teeth to be able to learn to chew solid foods, to smile, and to speak. You want your baby to meet all the age-appropriate developmental milestones.
Baby teeth are the forerunners to your child’s permanent teeth. Permanent teeth grow inside the jaw under the baby teeth.
If your child loses a baby tooth too early from decay and lack of care or trauma, the permanent tooth that comes in may be misaligned, making it hard for the rest of the teeth in that area to line up properly; this could cause bite problems. Teeth can become crooked or crowded. Your child may need braces as he grows older to correct issues that stem from a missing baby tooth.
Tips for taking good care of baby teeth
Care of baby teeth can have a lifelong impact — positive or negative — on your child. Following are some tips to help ensure your child’s baby teeth are healthy.
Wipe your newborn’s gums
Clean your newborn’s gums with a soft, clean washcloth or moist gauze. This keeps bacteria to a minimum.
Don’t share saliva with your baby
Many parents share spoons, forks, and cups with their babies. Studies show that it’s not a good idea. When you transfer bacteria through your saliva by sharing food or a drink, you baby can get a cavity. It’s a lot better to play “pretend” than to actually share that spoon.
Some parents are astonished to find out that their 2-year-old has cavities.
Brush your baby’s teeth
When the baby teeth come in, do the brushing for your child until they’re ready to do it. Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste on a child’s toothbrush and brush twice a day.
Make brushing part of the daily routine
Dentistry for Children teaches your child how to brush and floss their teeth, but you can reinforce good habits at home. As your child begins to brush on their own, supervise the brushing until you’re sure they’re doing it correctly — using the right amount of toothpaste and not swallowing it. Spot check periodically.
As your child learns to brush, make this part of the day fun. You can brush alongside them or create a chart with their daily routine on it; visual cues help keep young children on track.
Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle
Make sure your baby finishes their bottle before putting them to bed. Continually sucking on a bottle increases the amount of bacteria their teeth are exposed to.
Don’t put juice in baby bottles
Bottles should contain only breast milk, formula, or water. Your baby won’t want to stop sucking on the bottle if you give him juice.
Minimize sugar in your child’s diet
Make pastries, candy, and cakes an occasional treat, not an everyday occurrence. Limit the juice they drink. Unlimited juice can lead to cavities; plus, the calories hinder the appetite at meals.
Visit the dentist regularly
Dentistry for Children recommends bringing in your child for their first visit when they reach 1 year old. Regular dental care is an important part of your child’s overall health.
Call or book an appointment with Dentistry for Children to ensure your child has positive dental visits and expert care.