The dental health of your baby is of utmost importance. As they grow they will eventually have 20 baby teeth. These teeth will allow them to eat, drink, talk and smile. One other important thing baby teeth do is to help maintain the space for adult teeth.
The main problems we see with baby teeth are discomfort when they erupt, decay and tooth loss.
Baby teeth start to come in between the ages of 6 and 12 months (this is just an average). I’m sure we have all had sleepless nights because a baby is teething as their teeth are coming in. There are many things that could possible help with this discomfort and hopefully allow the weary parents to get some sleep. These could be things from a toy kept in the freezer, a wet washcloth or some other remedies your dentist can share with you.
Teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they come in to the baby’s mouth. Most times this will affect a baby’s front teeth first but can also affect their back teeth. In some cases this decay can be so bad that the dentist may need to remove these teeth. These cavities happen because of plaque that settles on the baby’s teeth. This plaque can come from dirty pacifiers, or eating utensils but more frequently it comes from exposure of the teeth to various sugars. These sugars can be in foods or liquids. Formula, juice, milk and even breast milk contains these sugars and can be harmful to a child’s teeth. Putting a child to sleep with a bottle in their mouth allows these sugary acidic foods to settle around the teeth and bathe them in this acid. This can ultimately lead to decay.
There are several things parents can do to help prevent this harmful consequence. One thing is to make sure you wipe the baby’s teeth and gums with a gauze or wash cloth after every meal or feeding. As the teeth erupt more you can start using an infants or children’s toothbrush. Have your child see a dentist about the age of 1. Make sure you consult with your dentist on the type of toothbrush and toothpastes to use. Do not use toothpaste until your child is old enough to spit the excess out.
If your child uses a pacifier make sure it is clean. Don’t clean it with your mouth because your child can pick up bacteria that is in your mouth.
Make sure your child eats healthy and avoids sugary or acidic foods.