The arrival of a baby’s first tooth is greeted with great excitement. Teeth mean the gradual change of a child’s diet to more complex foods; the maturing digestive process is critical to allow a person to absorb all the nutrients necessary for a healthy life.
Like every aspect of health, we tend to take our strong healthy teeth for granted until something goes wrong. But just as our bodies need care to remain healthy, so teeth need care from the moment of birth.
What was that? A baby isn’t born with teeth, so how can they need care from the beginning? Many people don’t realise that babies should have their gums cleaned with a gauze pad after feedings and before bedtime. As well Dentists Brisbane as helping to create a lifelong routine of mouth hygiene even before the child is aware of it, this process helps to create and maintain healthy gums, which are critical to supporting healthy teeth.
Dental practitioners also recommend that you shouldn’t put your baby to bed with the bottle. If you begin this before the baby has teeth, you’ll likely continue it after the arrival of the first tooth. The sugars in the milk (even breast milk) or fruit juice will interact with the bacteria in your baby’s mouth to form acid that attacks the tooth enamel. Thus you might be setting up tooth decay very early in your baby’s life. The only safe liquid in a nighttime bottle is water.
The Brushing Habit
If you’ve been cleaning your baby’s gums from the beginning, the change to a soft toothbrush with the arrival of the first tooth shouldn’t be a drama. As your toddler grows, start a ‘group’ brushing routine. Brush together so it’s a shared, fun environment. You should brush your children’s teeth until they three years old, then start encouraging them to join in. However, it’s important that you ensure the job is done well for as long as it needed.
If you use an electric toothbrush yourself, your child may want to imitate you. Either manual or electric brushing is fine – the important thing is that it’s done thoroughly. The great thing about electric toothbrushes is that if used properly, they are usually better at preventing plaque. Manufacturers generally recommend that a child be at least three before being allowed to use an electric toothbrush by themselves.
Understanding the Need
Whatever brushing technique you adopt, take the time to ensure it’s done properly, under supervision if necessary. You want to give your child the best possible grounding in habits that will lead to strong, healthy teeth for life.
As children grow older, they will tend to try to avoid the ‘chore’ of cleaning their teeth, and might give them only cursory attention when forced to. It’s important to shepherd your child through this period, perhaps with your dentist’s help to reinforce the importance of good dental care.
You should initiate regular check-ups from the age of three or four, but start taking your child on your own dental visits much earlier than this. The dentist may allow him or her to sit in the chair briefly, and might even take a quick look at the teeth. This can be fun and exciting. In this way, your child will become familiar with the environment, and be unafraid when it comes time for the first checkup. Click here to read more detail about developing a care plan for your children’s teeth .