A baby’s life is full of monumental “firsts.” Between rolling over, sitting up, and taking first steps, there is always something new to be celebrated. A child’s first tooth is always an exciting milestone for parents. As soon as that first tooth peeks through, it may be time to schedule their first visit to the dentist. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), parents should take their child to the dentist for the first time following the appearance of their first tooth, or at least no later than their first birthday.
Primary teeth, or “baby teeth,” are essential to the development of your child’s smile, laugh, speech, and ability to chew properly. Dental hygiene is taught and learned early on, and the sooner your child realizes the importance of brushing, flossing, and taking care of their teeth, the more likely they are to have healthy teeth as adults.
Maintaining your child’s dental hygiene in infancy can help determine the health of their teeth for the rest of their lives, and help your child develop strong habits early on. It’s never too early to start making your child’s oral health a priority.
No Bottles Before Bed
While it’s common practice to put babies to sleep with a bottle, doing so can put your child at risk of developing “baby bottle tooth decay.” When a baby falls asleep, the sugar from the milk or juice coats the teeth throughout the duration of their sleep, which feeds plaque-causing bacteria and leads to tooth decay. Instead, try substituting milk, juice or formula with water at night to avoid damage to your child’s primary teeth.
Avoid Pacifier Past Age Three
Using a pacifier is a customary method of soothing a child, especially at nap time. However, if a child is consistently using a pacifier past the age of three, they are at a higher risk of developing cavities, as well as an overbite. Talk to your pediatrician for information about breaking a sucking habit and weaning your child off a pacifier.
Monitor and Limit Sugary Drinks
When it comes to sugar, less is more. Prolonged exposure to sugar and acid can wreak havoc on a child’s teeth and mouth. Candy, sweet treats, and sugary drinks like soda, juice, and sports drinks can all have negative impacts on dental health, for both kids and adults alike. When it comes to diet, stick to designated meal and snack times, and make sure your child is drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Select Teething Rings Carefully
Many parents may not be aware of the potential dangers associated with using teething gels and rings as a child begins to develop more teeth. The U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) strongly warns against the use of teething gels that contain benzocaine and lidocaine, as they can seriously harm a child. Despite what some product labels say, parents and caregivers should steer clear of teething rings too, as they contain chemicals and low levels of BPA which can be released into your child’s body.
Fairview Dental Arts is a dentistry for children and the whole family in Norristown, PA. We have convenient hours for our patients and offer a fun atmosphere for all ages in the family. Call today, 610-630-2373, for an appointment or to get your questions answered.