At the first sign of a baby’s tooth, moms know it is time to begin a lifelong journey of dental care. Since a baby’s diet mainly consist of milk, it is important for a parent to know how to protect their baby’s new teeth from the sugar in the milk. Milk residue that is left on the teeth can result in a condition called baby bottle tooth decay which leads to cavities, wholes in the teeth. Because of the sensitive nature of the teeth, it is important to know proper dental care strategies for infant and toddler health.
Today, doctors and dentists have varying viewpoints and recommendations when it comes to infant and toddler’s dental health care. At the sign of first tooth, most doctors will warn parents not to let the child sleep with a bottle filled with a drink. Because children’s saliva production slows while sleeping, the saliva will not work to cleanse the teeth, therefore making the teeth susceptible to decay caused by sugar settling on the teeth for extended periods. In order to avoid baby bottle tooth decay, an infant should be encouraged to drink water at the end of the day after his or her last bottle of milk or other drink. A thumb brush with soft bristles is also an effective way to remove the sugar from the baby’s teeth. Water is recommended for brushing infant’s teeth and is baby’s best protection against tooth decay.
Generally, most pediatricians will give a referral for a dentist sometime between the first and third birthday checkup. This first visit is typically geared toward creating a familiar environment for the child that they will return to twice a year with comfort and ease. Secondly, the dentist will exam the teeth for any cavities and instruct the parent about proper dental care. Infants can be encouraged to brush their own teeth with a toothbrush and water as soon as they have hand eye coordination and can achieve this task without harm to their teeth and gums. So begin dental care for you baby today and consult a dentist when you feel the time is right, but don’t wait too late if you think your baby could have tooth decay.