When it comes to good oral health, it is a good idea to start a good hygiene routine with your child at a very young age. In fact, good oral hygiene can begin before a baby even has his or her first tooth. Use the following tips to keep your child's teeth and gums healthy:
Clean Mouth Regularly
Even before your baby even has teeth, it is a good idea to get in the habit of cleaning his or her gums after each feeding. This will help remove bacteria and keep the gums healthy, while also getting your baby used to having his or her mouth cleaned which will make it easier when you switch to teeth brushing. To clean the gums all you have to do is dampened a piece of gauze or clean cloth and gently rub the gums.
Never Let Your Baby Fall Asleep While Feeding
Suckling is something that many babies enjoy, and it is not uncommon for an infant to fall asleep while feeding. But as your baby begins to get teeth, it is very important not to put him or her to bed with a bottle of formula or let your baby fall asleep while nursing. When a baby falls asleep while feeding formula or breast milk can pool in the mouth and settle on the surface of the teeth and the sugars in formula or breast milk feed the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Babies and young toddlers that fall asleep with milk or formula in their mouth on a regular basis are at risk for serious tooth decay that can destroy their primary teeth and require a lot of dental treatment to correct. If your baby needs to suck on something while falling asleep, offer a pacifier or a bottle with a small amount of plain water.
Schedule the First Dental Appointment
Even if your baby only has a few teeth, it is still important to visit the dentist. According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, all children should see a dentist by the time he or she turns one year old. The first dental appointment is typically short and does not include a full cleaning like you are used to at your dental appointments, but the initial appointment gives your child's dentist the opportunity to examine your baby's mouth and discover any potential problems that need to be taken care of.
For more information, talk to a dentist, like those at Hoffman & Karl Dental Associates, PLLC.