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If there’s drool constantly hanging from your baby’s chin and she is suddenly wanting to put everything in her mouth, her first tooth is probably on its way.
While you might be focused on easing her gum pain and keeping her as comfortable as possible while she’s teething, it’s also important to start thinking about taking care of those little pearls.
Here’s why: If a baby has teeth, those teeth can get decay and cavities. And children with cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to get cavities in their permanent teeth. So it’s important to start a dental care routine early.
How do you go about doing that? We have some essential pointers.
It’s important to know that one of the reasons that some children are more prone to developing cavities is because of a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. It’s the main culprit behind tooth decay, because it feeds on sugar and creates acid that dissolves the protective enamel on the teeth.
Babies aren’t born with this bacteria, but studies have shown that they can acquire it early on through the saliva of a parent or caregiver.
If you’re kissing a baby on the lips, or sharing a spoon or using your mouth to clean off her pacifier, that can cause a child to acquire Streptococcus mutans. And the more cavity-causing bacteria in the adult’s mouth, the more cavity-causing bacteria baby is going to get.
Feeding habits can contribute to the health of a baby’s teeth, too. Babies who fall asleep with a bottle full of milk or juice in their mouth, or with a pacifier that’s been dipped in honey or sugar, may be at risk for baby bottle tooth decay. This happens when sugar collects around their teeth while they’re sleeping and feeds Streptococcus mutans bacteria, resulting in decay.
Oral hygiene also plays a role at this age. Once a baby’s first tooth comes in, it’s time to start brushing it. Use a small, soft toothbrush with a tiny smear of toothpaste on it – the American Dental Association recommends a dallop about the size of a grain of rice until age 3 – and gently brush all around the teeth.
The fluoride in toothpaste will help strengthen the enamel on the teeth, so that they’re able to resist decay.
When children are young and can’t spit, if you’re using toothpaste with fluoride in it, you want to wipe out the excess toothpaste with a piece of wet gauze.
The fluoride isn’t harmful to their health, but when developing teeth get too much of it, they can take on a chalky white appearance known as dental fluorosis.
Children should also start visiting the dentist by either their first birthday, or six months after their first tooth erupts.
Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!
Located in the heart of North Vancouver, BC, Family Care Dental Clinic is a group of passionate dentists and dental experts who are committed to providing patients with exceptional dental care in a modern and relaxing environment. We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family.
Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!