Sep 22, 2015 - 10:09 AM EST | Posted under: General
Many parents are surprised to learn that their child’s dental care must start at a very young age. To ensure that you’re protecting your child’s teeth, follow this trusted advice from pediatric dentists.
Cavities Come from Both Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding
While some medical experts recommend breastfeeding over bottle feeding for the child’s general health, pediatric dentists say that both can cause cavities and other dental care problems. Whichever way you feed your baby, protect them from cavities with these helpful, healthy hints:
- Avoid letting your child have a bottle for hours at a time since this allows the sugars in milk and juice to stay on their teeth and do damage.
- Don’t give your child a bottle overnight or allow them to nurse right before bed since this also lets harmful sugars stick to their teeth for long periods of time.
- By their first birthday, pediatric dentists advise encouraging the child to start drinking from a sippy cup instead of the breast or bottle.
Thumb Sucking is Fine for a Short Time
Rest assured that thumb sucking is completely normal and natural for infants, with most children naturally stopping by age two. If your child still has this habit after this age, it’s acceptable but must be stopped by their fourth birthday to avoid problems with crooked teeth and bite misalignment. Your kid’s dentist can offer ideas to help you stop the thumb-sucking habit.
Pacifiers are Permitted While Very Young
Many parents give their kids pacifiers to comfort and calm them. As with thumb sucking, pacifiers are all right when the child is very young, but they should be taken away by age two to avoid later dental problems. Parents often find that weaning a child off a pacifier is must easier than stopping them from sucking their thumbs. Your kid’s dentist can provide you with tips on saying bye-bye to the pacifier.
Brushing Basics for a Toddler’s Teeth
Proper dental care is essential for a toddler’s tiny teeth because it helps them learn oral hygiene habits while improving their dental development. Follow these simple steps to protect your toddler’s teeth:
- Brush their teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled, small toothbrush.
- Use a gentle, circular motion to clean every tooth surface, including the chewing surfaces and gumline.
- Take your child to a kid’s dentist for regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
- If needed, ask the dentist to show both you and your child the best brushing techniques.
- Be a good role model and show your child how you practice healthy dental habits.