The importance of teeth for your child extends beyond chewing and speaking—they also pave the way for permanent teeth. Teething, a natural phase, might lead to fussiness, drooling, and a penchant for chewing. When choosing a teething ring, opt for one that’s solid and hard. However, it’s crucial to avoid teething products containing benzocaine. The US Food and Drug Administration cautions that benzocaine can have severe adverse effects, even fatal ones.
Guarding Against Cavities
To minimize the risk of cavities for your child, assist in:
- Brushing twice daily with toothpaste containing fluoride
- Utilizing fluoride
- Restricting sugary snacks and beverages
Establishing Toothbrushing Habits
Initiate brushing your child’s teeth twice daily once the first tooth emerges. For children below 3 years, employ a smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Those above 3 years can use a pea-sized drop of toothpaste. Brushing for younger children should be done by you. Older children might be capable of brushing on their own, but supervision ensures they use the right amount of toothpaste and spit out excess.
The Role of Fluoride
Fluoride fortifies the enamel of teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste harnesses this benefit. Drinking fluoridated water is also advantageous. Your pediatric dentist can guide you about the fluoride content in your water. If insufficient, fluoride tablets or drops might be suggested.
Taming Sugary Intake
A layer of sticky bacteria coats teeth, reacting to sugar with acid that leads to cavities. Beverages, notably sugary ones, contribute significantly to sugar intake. The American Academy of Pediatrics advocates avoiding juice in the first year, discouraging all-day sipping or bedtime consumption. These practices elevate the risk of tooth decay.
Visit to the Dentist
Schedule a dentist visit for your baby after the first tooth but before their first birthday. The dentist will:
- Conduct an oral exam
- Assess cavity risk
- Monitor tooth development
- Evaluate any habits affecting oral health
Nurture your child’s dental health from their first tooth, paving the way for a journey towards optimal oral well-being.