As parents, you know that good oral hygiene is an essential part of preventing cavities in your child’s teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day to remove bacteria goes a long way to reduce tooth decay. Here are more tips from your lower Manhattan pediatric dentist!
Believe it or not, cleaning your child’s mouth starts as soon as your baby is born. A few days after birth, begin wiping your infant’s gums with a clean, moist washcloth or gauze pad to remove oral bacteria. Once the first tooth emerges, you can use a very soft infant toothbrush with just plain water.
Avoid Bedtime Bottles
If you put your baby down for a nap or for the night with a bottle, fill it only with water. It might surprise you to know that formula contains sugars, which can decay teeth.
Know When Not to Share
It’s common for parents to give their child a sip of their beverage or a bite from their spoon or fork. It’s not uncommon for parents to put a dropped pacifier into their mouth to “clean it” before popping it back into the baby’s mouth when no water is handy. Please avoid these two habits, as bacteria from your mouth can create cavities in your child’s mouth.
Snacks and Sweets
It’s impossible to avoid sugar entirely but you can start early to influence your child’s affection for it. Substitute fruit and veggies as often as possible. We know our patients’ parents won’t serve celery and carrots instead of cake at birthday parties, but life is about what you do the majority of the time, right? If your child is accustomed to snacking on healthy fruits and veggies rather than chips, cookies and other sweets, he or she will grow up with that preference.
Ixnay on Fruit Juice
It would seem that fruit juices, such as orange, grape and the ubiquitous apple are “good” for kids. They aren’t. Not only do they give your child a “sugar rush” that’s no different from candy, these juices literally bathe your child’s teeth in acid. Better to give your child pieces of fresh fruit than the juices from them. If you must give your child juice, dilute it 50/50 with water. Water alone is still the healthiest beverage.
Bring Your Child to See Us Every Six Months
Like brushing, flossing and eating right, establishing the habit of seeing the dentist every six months will serve your child throughout his or her lifetime. Our Lower Manhattan pediatric dental office staff will give your child a thorough cleaning and check for cavities, as well as any potential problems. You should schedule your baby’s first dental appointment within six months of the first erupted tooth and definitely before the child’s first birthday.
Call our office at 212-267-0029 to schedule your child’s pediatric dental appointment or anytime you have questions, concerns or dental emergencies.