Is there anything cuter than a baby’s first tooth? But even before that first little pearl emerges, you should start oral care habits that keep that tooth – and the one that replaces it – strong and healthy.
Family dental care begins as soon as your baby is born. Gently wipe their gums with a wet washcloth on your index finger after feeding to cut down on the sugar in their mouth. Never let your baby go to sleep with a bottle, either.
At Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, Oklahoma, expert dentist Samuel Sigmon, DDS, encourages you to acclimate your child to oral care and the dentist early. Even though you may not worry about baby teeth, since they get replaced, healthy baby teeth help healthy permanent teeth grow strong.
Baby teeth act as placeholders for their secondary teeth, safeguarding these spaces along their jawbones until the permanent teeth are ready. If your child loses baby teeth to decay, it can negatively affect how their permanent teeth settle into place.
Take the time to ensure baby teeth are healthy so that permanent teeth are, too. Following are five tips on how to do that.
1. Teach self-care soon
Even your baby’s first teeth should get brushed. Do it yourself at least twice per day while your child is small.
Once your child can accomplish simple tasks, such as feeding themselves, teach them how to brush their teeth; set them up with toothbrush and toothpaste.
Oversee the early care and intervene for a more thorough job when necessary. You can make tooth care part of an everyday routine by acclimating your child to a habit of brushing twice-a-day.
2. Let the dentist see the first tooth
When children see the dentist early in their lives, they’re less likely to develop dental fears and anxieties. Our friendly staff makes sure that dental visits are fun for your child.
The sooner we see your child’s teeth, the more quickly we can intervene if a problem occurs. Also, when their baby teeth come in, we can apply a protective sealant to help ward off tooth decay.
3. Be careful with sugar
Baby teeth are especially prone to decay. Avoid sweetened foods and beverages, especially those that linger in their mouths, such as lollipops or sippy cups full of sugary drinks.
Even those convenient juice boxes have loads of sugar. Be aware of the ingredients in everything your child eats and drinks. Of course, a sweet treat every once in a while isn’t a bad thing. Just teach them to rinse with water whenever they have a snack or beverage. They should brush their teeth after candy or anything sticky.
4. Welcome their adult teeth
After the Tooth Fairy starts leaving dollar bills under your child’s pillow, it’s more important than ever to keep up with your regular twice-a-year appointments. Not only do we check your child’s teeth for cavities, but we also monitor how well their permanent teeth are erupting.
X-rays can reveal eruption problems early so that we can intervene. In some instances, your child may benefit from orthodontics, even before all their permanent teeth are in place.
5. Lead by example
During each stage of your child’s oral development, show them how to maintain their dental health by taking great care of their teeth. Brush together during the early days. Make flossing a game. Play “dentist” with their stuffed animals so they can lead by example, too.
To learn more about how to prepare your baby or child for a lifetime of good oral care, schedule their first appointment with our kid-friendly Full Circle Dental Care team today or use our online booking system.