As a new mom, I know that the worries surrounding your precious baby
can be endless. Being proactive when it comes to your child’s oral
health will help to ensure that your Little One remains cavity-free.
Before we get into prevention, it’s important to understand how tooth
decay starts. In order for a cavity to develop, 4 things must be
present: a tooth, bacteria that cause tooth decay, carbohydrates
(sugar), and time. Bacteria feast on carbohydrates and produce acid.
The acid causes minerals to be leached from the tooth and, over time,
a hole in the tooth (cavity) forms.
The following 5 steps can help to prevent your child from needing
dental treatment that can be stressful, costly, and time-consuming.
BRUSH, BRUSH, BRUSH:
Teeth should be cleaned at least twice
a day as soon as the first tooth erupts into the mouth. A gauze
or clean face cloth can be used to wipe all of the surfaces of the
teeth the molars erupt at around 12 months of age. At that point
you should switch to a regular infant sized toothbrush that can
remove plaque and bacteria from the grooves of the teeth more
FLUORIDE IS YOUR FRIEND:
Using just a smear of toothpaste
containing fluoride once your child can spit will help to make the
teeth more resistant to the harmful effects of bacteria. Most
municipalities supplement their water with fluoride, so
encourage your child to drink-up!
Cavity causing bacteria LOVE sugar and other
carbohydrates, so make sure that your child eats a balanced
diet. Avoid juice and pop and reduce the amount of packaged
processed foods that your family consumes. Encourage your
kids to eat whole fruits, veggies and grains and stick to
unprocessed meats and dairy.
VISIT A PEDIATRIC DENTIST:
The American Academy of Pediatric
Dentistry recommends: “In order to prevent dental problems,
your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth
appears, or no later than his/her first birthday”. A child’s first
dental visit will usually involve a quick exam, but also serves as a
platform to educate parents about prevention and to get your
child used to going to the dentist.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE:
if we as a parents eat a healthy balanced
diet, brush and floss every day and visit the dentist regularly, we
will be teaching our kids that oral health is an important part of
total health and that we should all take pride in our smiles.