Dental Care Tips


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Dental Hygiene for Babies

Before they even enter the world a baby will have begun to form teeth. Very few new borns have visible teeth, but they are still there, hidden by gum. Most often the first sign of exposed teeth comes 6-9 months into life, though this can vary between babies.

A one year old child is likely to have 8 little chompers – some will have more, some less (hey, it is only an average,it does not mean anything!)

Although these are milk teeth (or deciduous teeth) – which means that at some point they will be substituted by adult teeth, this does not mean that these teeth should not be well cared for. In fact it is very important to look after these teeth.

In fact, should the baby teeth go bad and fall out before nature demands then they can have knock-on effects on the adult teeth. The positioning of the adult teeth is dependent on the milk tooth – no milk tooth to guide the new teeth can lead to uneven or bad positioning. Even the final, adult, shape of the jawbone is dependent on the healthy development of teeth.

And of course there is the simple idea of teaching kids about caring for their teeth – getting them into good habits. By the age of three, maybe four, kids should be contributing to their own tooth brushing, though it is smart to continue the supervision until they are about seven to ensure they continue to care properly for their teeth.

So how early should you start with the brushing? As soon as the teeth start showing is the answer. You will have seen the special baby toothpaste, so use this. On very little babies it is more practical to use a tiny amount of the paste on a clean piece of gauze that you wrap round your finger. Clean their teeth and gums with this. There are also baby toothbrushes available.

What other things should you do?

Even though it is unlikely that toddlers and babies will have serious tooth problems, it is good practice to start the dental visits. It is good for their teeth and also good for them to visit their dental practitioner when they need no work. It is not hard to imagine the negative effect on the mental health of waiting for the first visit until some painful work is needed!

Keeping with the theme of good habit making, steer babies and young children away from candies, drinks and treats that are filled with sugar. And think about this – if you fill a baby drinking bottle with sugary soft drinks it will be like soaking their little teeth in the liquid.

Teach your kids some good dental habits when they are young and they will thank you for it as adults.

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