Baby teeth, while only temporary, are extremely important when it comes to long-term dental hygiene. Medical experts agree that oral wellness at a young age can have profound impacts on health as children get older. Therefore, they recommend that parents begin caring for their infants' mouths as soon as their family dentist gives them approval.
It's best to think of baby teeth as the first step towards adult chompers because they serve as anchors for future growth. Parents need to be on the lookout for any decay or bacterial growths as these new pearly whites come in, as developing mouths can be especially susceptible to infection.
Because most dentists recommend that babies avoid toothpaste and mouthwash until they are at least 18 months old, parents should utilize moistened gauze to gently rub away any food particles from inside their child's mouth. Additionally, they must reduce the amount of time they use a pacifier or a bottle, as a recent report from the American Dental Association highlighted the risks of what they termed "baby bottle tooth decay."
Under the guidance of a pediatric dental expert, parents can introduce a small toothbrush once their infant's teeth begin to develop. They should use a tiny amount of fluoride-free paste and eschew wash solutions until they are older. Caregivers should also make sure that no excess paste remains in the mouth, as prolonged exposure can lead to a dry mouth, which is known to spur bacterial growth.
Parenthood can be a stressful experience, but with proper medical counselling it can result in a child who has a healthy set of chompers. Guardians should contact their family dentist if they have any questions about oral care or need to make an appointment.