If you have recently had a baby, probably the last thing on your mind is how to look after their teeth; getting enough sleep is more likely to be a priority! Taking a little time to look after your young child’s teeth though, will pay dividends as they start to grow up and have strong healthy and attractive smile.
Although it is important to clean a baby’s gums to prevent any problems; once their teeth start to appear, this should be replaced by regular brushing. This should be a soft brush with a small head. Initially, the use of water alone to brush is sufficient. Gradually though, very tiny amounts of a mild, fluoride toothpaste can be introduced, building up to a pea shaped amount as they develop.
Whilst you will initially have to brush their teeth for them; once capable, they should be encouraged to do this themselves so that they see this as a normal thing to do. You should supervise them whilst they do this though to make sure that they brush their teeth correctly, until such time that you are happy that they will do so themselves.
Pacifiers, thumbs and drinks
There is probably not a parent in the world who has not reversed an earlier decision not to allow their babies to suck a pacifier, or ‘dummy’. We all know how much noise can emanate from such a little person, and sometimes we all need a bit of peace and quiet. Pacifier use should be limited though and should never be dipped in fruit juices etc. Many young children will move on from a pacifier to sucking their thumb. Unfortunately, if this is done too regularly or with too much force force on the rear of their front teeth, this can cause their teeth to grow outwardly. Whilst orthodontics can be used to straighten children’s teeth as they grow older, it is obviously preferable to avoid this if possible.
Parents should also take care about what liquids they put in a baby’s bottle. Generally this should be water, breast milk or formula. We strongly recommend avoiding fruit drinks or any other sugar containing drinks.
As your child develops and becomes more curious about the world around them, this is a good time to introduce them to our friendly dental hygienists at the Confidental Clinic. As well as checking their teeth and gums for any early signs of gum disease, this is an excellent opportunity for your child to learn more about their teeth in a non parental manner. Many children have benefitted from this, often taking more responsibility and care of their own teeth afterwards.
For more advice about your child’s oral health care, or to arrange an appointment with a dentist or hygienist, please call our Surbiton dental practice on 020 8399 1291.