How do I keep my child’s teeth healthy?

Practicing good oral hygiene needs to start early and be a consistent habit even before your child can brush on his or her own to create a lasting routine for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.  Follow these guidelines to keep your child’s teeth healthy from the start.

Start Oral Care Early to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy

Right after your child is born, you must take care of your child’s mouth to prevent problems with gums and newly emerging teeth.  In the early months, you can just take a wet cloth and wipe down the gums.  Be sure to get all of the gum surfaces, just like if you were brushing teeth.  Beginning sometimes as early as four months, babies start getting their first set of teeth; that is when brushing starts.  If you haven’t started wiping down gums and are just starting brushing, it can be an odd experience that your child struggles against, but it has to be done.  Use a soft, small toothbrush with just a small pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste that is made especially for children.

Prevent Nursing, or Bottle Mouth

When babies nurse or are bottle fed, it is important to brush their teeth and gums to avoid decay of their front teeth.  The milk, if left sitting on their teeth’s surfaces, can really cause trouble for children, problems that can last a lifetime if not treated.  Preventative care at home can put a stop to these early tooth causes of tooth decay.

If your baby has to have a bottle to go to sleep, make sure it is plain water.  Sugar water, formula, and juice are all bad choices right before a child sleeps when the sugars will just sit in the mouth and cause bacteria to grow.

Yeast infections of the mouth are also a common problem for babies.  Called thrush, it makes the tongue and mouth white and is very painful, even down the throat.  Sugar feeds yeast, so this is another reason to avoid allowing sugars to sit in a baby’s mouth.

Take Your Child to the Dentist Early

Build a strong relationship and good habits by starting your baby off early with visits to the dentist.  Starting at 6-12 months, preventative dentistry can begin with fluoride treatments and learning to trust the dentist and assistants.  Fluoride treatments protect the smooth surfaces of new teeth from decay, and future treatments of dental sealants work together with fluoride to protect the ridged areas.

Contact Dr. Christopher Hakimzadeh in his Phoenix, Arizona office today to schedule an appointment for your child.