Children’s Dental Health
Even before your baby’s teeth appear, it is a good idea to start caring for them. At around 3 months of age, use a tooth wipe or a finger toothbrush 3 times a day to clean your baby’s gums, inside cheeks, and tongue. This will remove any plaque that has formed. Once teeth appear, between 6-9 months, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush after all feedings. Electric toothbrushes are wonderful and stores carry models for children. The best models have a built-in timer. You can use a small amount of fluoride containing toothpaste once children know how to expectorate (spit).
Never put your baby to bed with a bottle containing milk (even breast milk), formula, or juice. The sugar in these drinks and the bacteria in your baby’s mouth can interact to form an acid that attacks the enamel in your baby’s teeth and causes tooth decay. If you must put your baby to bed with a bottle, then fill it with water.
The bacteria that inhabit the mouth produce acid when they come in contact with certain foods, particularly sugars and starches. You need to minimize your child’s consumption of sugary and starchy foods to minimize tooth decay. This is especially true if the foods are sticky. Sticky foods are worse and stay in contact with the teeth longer. Foods that were thought to be healthy are actually bad for teeth, like fruit roll-ups and dried fruit.
The anatomy of teeth alone can lead to dental cavities that are no fault of the parent or child. Dental sealants or fillings may be recommended to minimize these areas from becoming decayed or the decay from enlarging. We recommend that your child visit us at about 2 year of age, but no later than 3 years of age. Most children can sit in the dental chair for a short time by the age of two or three.