A child’s first set of teeth will eventually fall out to be replaced by a permanent set, so does it really matter whether or not you take good care of those baby teeth?
Yes! Just because baby teeth will eventually be replaced is no reason to allow them to decay. Not only do healthy baby teeth help your child to chew and speak, but consider what kind of precedent you set for the permanent teeth if you teach your child to neglect his or her baby teeth.
Children should be taken to their first dentist appointment around their first birthday. Besides checking a child’s teeth and gums, the dentist will show parents how to care properly for their child’s teeth. This includes brushing. A smaller softer toothbrush should be used on an infant’s teeth, one designed especially for infants.
Fluoride is the single most important means for preventing cavities and is especially important for children from families that have a history of tooth decay. However, because infants are apt to swallow fluoride toothpaste, only a very thin film should be applied on the toothbrush. The amount can be increased to the size of a pea as the child grows older.
A child’s diet also helps maintain the health of his or her teeth. Parents should ensure that their children get a balanced diet, and they should avoid excess sugars, especially before the child goes to bed. The sugars in sugar-containing drinks including fruit juice, enable plaque bacteria to produce acid, which is particularly destructive during sleep. If your baby sleeps better with a bottle at bedtime, fill the bottle with water or plain milk instead.