Thursday, July 12, 2018

Protect Your Infant’s Dental Health in 7 Simple Steps

Protect Your Infant’s Dental Health in 7 Simple Steps
Give your child the best possible advantage by starting their dental care early and instilling healthy habits from the outset. Proper oral hygiene isn’t just about brushing and flossing, especially when it comes to babies and toddlers.

Today, Bertagnolli Dental discusses everything you need to know about how to protect your infant’s dental health in 7 simple steps. While some of these tips might seem like common sense, you’d be surprised what we see here at our dental practice in Westminster.

By following these steps and taking our professional advice to heart, you’ll get a jump start on protecting your child from all kinds of issues, including cavities and decay.

You’re also welcome to get in touch with our team to schedule a first appointment for your baby. We can provide a full examination and make sure you’re on the right path.

So, let’s get to what it takes to protect your infant’s dental health.

1. Avoid giving your baby a bottle at bedtime

Putting a baby down to sleep with a bottle of milk can quickly become part of your standard nightly ritual, but this is actually a not so great habit to form.

Here’s the problem. The sugars in milk will fuel bacteria in your infant’s mouth all night long which can lead to tooth decay. It’s best to clean your infant’s teeth and gums at bedtime, and if necessary, provide a bottle filled with warm water to help them drift off to sleep.

We know that it’s easier said than done, but when it comes to your infant’s dental health, putting the effort into creating new habits is well worth it.

2. Don't get too dependent on a sippy cup

For older babies and toddlers, this is yet another easy to form and tough to break habit.

The sippy cup, which is great for preventing spills, allows toddlers to transition from bottles to and cups. They’re designed to slow the ingestion of liquids to prevent choking, however, this also gives liquids ample time to sit in your child’s mouth.

For milk and juice, this often means a high exposure to sugar and an increased risk of tooth decay. Try to only give your child the sippy cup at mealtimes and avoid using it continuously throughout the day. For more leisurely sippy cup drinkers, you can fill it with water and let the child wander around as needed.

3. Be aware of high sugar content in medicines

Medications designed for babies and children can have extremely high sugar levels. This is intended to make them more palatable for children and easier to take. Makes sense, right?

While occasional use for colds and other temporary conditions are not usually a cause for concern, you should consult with our dentists if your child has a condition requiring a daily oral medication that has high sugar content. They can advise on the best ways to protect your infant’s dental health. 

4. Keep juice intake in check

After milk, fruit juice is the go-to beverage of choice for young children. While they are full of vitamins and nutrients, what many parents don't realize is that juices often contain a lot of sugar. They can be as harmful as soda to your child's developing teeth.

To protect your infant’s dental health, look for pure fruit juices with no added sugar and limit the consumption of sweet drinks to mealtimes. If it doesn’t lead to an all-out meltdown, you can also try watering down juices.

In fact, it’s best to accustom your child to drinking water throughout the day.

5. Ditch the pacifier

Many parents dread the day when they have to take away the pacifier. We understand and know it can be a very frustrating battle for both you and your child.

However, children over the age of 2 and 3 should not be using a pacifier. They should also stop sucking thumbs and fingers!

Prolonged pacifier use can affect the growth of your child's milk teeth, permanently altering their arrangement and causing abnormal mouth growth. By helping your child become independent of pacifiers at a young age, you can avoid the risk of dental malformation.

You can also avoid the costs associated with fixing related dental issues down the road. As you can imagine, proper care for pacifier-related problems can be complex and expensive.

6. Cultivate healthy dental hygiene habits

Taking the time to practice good oral hygiene with your infant from the very start will set them up for a future of better dental and oral health.  

You can start early by cleaning their gums with a soft cloth and water twice a day. Once their milk teeth start to appear, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and baby-safe toothpaste to gently clean all surfaces. Make it a game, have fun and keep going until dental care is fully incorporated into everyone’s daily routine.

This is the most impactful way to protect your infant’s dental health, and the earlier you start the easier it will be to create healthy habits that last a lifetime.

7. Don't put off their first visit to the dentist

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that every child should see a dentist by the time they are a one-year-old.

It has been proven time and again that early intervention by a professional will lower your child's risk of developing issues in the future. Your dentist can demonstrate correct oral hygiene practices and analyze your child’s potential for tooth decay.

For more information, you’re welcome to contact the team here at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster
to discuss how to protect your infant’s dental health. Now is a great time to make the changes and instill the habits that will positively impact their oral hygiene.

We hope these simple guidelines will make your life easier, too! We are always available to make your dental visits and home dental care a better experience at Bertagnolli Dental. Get in touch today to set up your child’s next appointment.

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