Should I clean my baby’s teeth?
Definitely. Even before the first tooth appears, use a soft, clean cloth to wipe your baby’s gums and cheeks after feeding. As soon as the first tooth appears, begin using a small, soft bristled tooth brush to clean the tooth after eating. Don’t cover the brush with toothpaste. Young children tend to swallow most of the toothpaste, and swallowing too much fluoridated toothpaste can cause permanent spots on their teeth called dental fluorosis.
I find brushing my child’s teeth awkward. Any suggestions?
Try having your child lie down. Put your child on your lap or on the floor, keeping his/her head steady with your legs. If your child is standing, have his/her back to you with their head tilted slightly and resting against your body. Have your child hold a mirror while you brush their teeth so your child can see what is being done.
How to brush your child’s teeth:
Every day plaque forms on the inner, outer, and chewing surface of teeth and the gums. Tooth brushing is one of the most effective ways to remove the plaque. The best kind of toothbrush to use is one with soft, round-tipped bristles. A child will need a smaller brush than an adult. Young children do not have the manual dexterity to brush properly. Your child will need your supervision and help brushing until he or she is 8-10 years old to ensure a thorough brushing has been done. When the bristles become bent or frayed, a new brush is needed.
Ten Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Preschoolers!
- Start with a visit to your dentist. Here, a dental professional will teach your child the proper way to brush, using kid-friendly words.
- Let your child pick out her own toothbrush and toothpaste. There are many colorful child-sized toothbrushes on the market, as well as toothpastes in flavours that appeal to kids. Just make sure that the toothbrush has soft or very soft, rounded bristles so they don’t damage your child’s gums or tooth enamel.
- Be sure your child uses only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on his/her brush. Kids tend to swallow toothpaste, and it’s important that they not get too much fluoride. If your child doesn’t like toothpaste, don’t sweat it! You don’t want dental hygiene sessions to turn into a battle.
- If you have more than one bathroom, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste for him/her in each one, to make brushing more convenient.
- Using stickers or some other artwork, make little signs to put on your child’s plate at mealtime, or on her pillow before bed, reminding him/her to brush.
- Brush your pet’s teeth, and let your child help – or at least watch. Not only does this reinforce the idea that clean teeth are important, it’s also good for your pet.
- Praise their brushing efforts and the results they’re producing. Try saying “Your teeth are so sparkly!” or “Your breath smells so good!” They’ll be delighted that you noticed, and the positive effects of brushing will be reinforced.
- Try sharing some books about dental hygiene with your child. Some good ones are Dragon Teeth and Parrot Beaks – Even Creatures Brush Their Teeth, by Almute Grohmann, and Just Going to the Dentist, by Mercer Mayer.
- You and your child can make up silly toothbrushing songs set to familiar melodies like “The ABC Song,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” or “Row, Row, Row your Boat.”
- And finally, because children learn by example, be sure your child sees you brushing and flossing your own teeth every single day. It’s good for them, and good for you!
BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Baby Bottle Syndrome, or Nursing Bottle Mouth are all terms used to describe a dental condition which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth. They are some of the first teeth to erupt and thus have the longest exposure time to the sugars in the bottle. The lower front teeth tend to be protected by the tongue as the child sucks on the nipple of the bottle or the breast. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is caused by frequent exposure of a child’s teeth for long periods of time to liquid containing sugars. When your baby falls asleep with: a bottle containing formula, milk or juice ,a pacifier dipped in honey or while breast feeding the liquid pools around the front teeth. During sleep, the bacteria living in every baby’s mouth, turns the milk sugar or other sugars to acid which causes the decay.