Just Because They’ll Fall Out Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Need to Take Care of Them
We often get our children (and maybe even ourselves) to practice good oral hygiene by threatening them with toothless gums after their teeth rot and fall out. But what if the teeth are just going to fall out anyway because they’re baby teeth? Do we still have to worry about brushing and flossing them?
But even baby teeth can decay if they aren’t properly taken care of, and if it gets bad enough, the teeth might need to be pulled before they’re ready to come out. Those teeth, along with the oral hygiene habits you’ll be teaching your kids, are arguably even more important than their adult teeth because they will set the tone for their oral health for the rest of their lives. That said, how can you take care of your child’s baby teeth?
Standard toothbrushes tend to be pretty abrasive and might hurt your baby’s still-tender gums, so use a special infant toothbrush when brushing their first teeth.
You can use baby toothpaste without fluoride, or you can just use the same toothpaste you use. Either way, make sure it’s a tiny amount (about the size of a grain of rice) from the time they get their first tooth until they turn three, at which point you can start using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. At this stage, it’s inevitable that your kids will swallow at least a small amount of toothpaste, so by minimizing the amount that goes on the toothbrush, you’ll also be minimizing the amount that ends up in their stomach.
Around the time they turn two, you can start teaching them to spit out the toothpaste, but don’t give them water to swish and spit because that actually increases the chances they’ll just swallow it.
Children are prone to accidentally swallowing toothpaste until about the age of six, so you should monitor your children while they brush their teeth at least until they reach that age. As with everything else, know your child and what they’re individual limits are because some kids will be fine on their own earlier than others.
As soon as you child has teeth coming in next to each other, you need to floss between those teeth, because just like with our adult teeth, those gaps between teeth are traps for food and bacteria.
Avoid Putting Your Baby to Bed with a Bottle
It might seem convenient to leave the bottle with the baby when you put them to bed, but that leaves the sugar in the juice or milk to sit in the baby’s mouth for hours, where it can wear down the enamel on the child’s teeth and foster an environment that encourages bad bacteria to live and grow, which can cause more damage. It can cause what’s known as “bottle mouth”, which is when the baby’s front teeth become discolored, or even pocked or pitted as a result of being put to bed with a bottle every night.
If your child is ready for their first dental appointment, we’d be happy to schedule one right away. We help kids of all ages keep their teeth clean and healthy.
If you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong, you must take care of them. At Simply Smiles Dentistry, we can show you how to properly care for your teeth. You will have a great smile that lasts a lifetime.
Until next time…Keep on Smiling!