Baby teeth need as much attention and care as adult teeth. The teeth, you see, could loosely be likened to the cosmetics on a woman’s face – it’s really the skin underneath that counts.
Believe it or not, a baby’s set of teeth begins to form during the second trimester of pregnancy and his mouth, therefore, needs good care and focus from the day he is born. By the time the baby is born, he sports 20 primary teeth which are mostly fully developed within the jaw. Preparing for their eruption alone demands you keep your baby’s mouth germ free by wiping his little gums down with a sterilised cloth after each mealtime.
Babies and dental decay
It’s difficult for the layman to believe but even our young, fragile babies can have problems with dental decay. This is usually as a result of parents not being in the habit of practicing good feeding habits, such as putting a baby to sleep with a bottle in his mouth. This may seem the most natural thing in the world, but it can harm the baby’s teeth and future developing teeth long term. The damage occurs when the sugar from juice or milk stay on a baby’s teeth for hours, they may eat away at the enamel and cause decay. This typical scenario is called bottle mouth.
When to actually take your child to the dentist is rather debatable. But there is one rule which seems to work with both parents and toddlers alike. This is that the sooner you get your child into that chair and let him get to know the dentist and his noisy toys, the better. The dentist doesn’t even have to check for abnormalities, but just be your young one’s pal, and this could win him over. This, coupled with seeing mom or dad in the seat for a regular appointment could dispel all fears for him.
Choosing a dentist for your child
But it is important that you choose a dentist who specialises in dealing with children as he will not only be an authority on teeth and children, but he will be familiar with dealing with their fears, too. It is obvious, too, that the earlier you schedule a dental visit for your youngster, the better the chance he will have of preventing dental problems.
But no matter what you do – wiping gums, not letting baby fall asleep with a bottle… thumb sucking can also have devastating effects if allowed to continue past the age of around two. If your baby persists in sucking his thumb past this age he could end up with crooked teeth and bite problems – both of which may not even show immediately but rather in later life. Speak to your paediatric dentist for assistance if this situation persists.
Brush, brush, brush
The sooner you start brushing your baby’s teeth with a soft gentle brush, the better. As he grows a little he will want to take over the responsibilities, but it’s obviously a good idea to always carry out your own routine, too.
There are many baby toothpastes available as there are brushes for you to choose from. Use a toothpaste with fluoride. Flossing is vital for all of us and every dentist will agree. Speak to your dentist about the most appropriate age for your guy to start flossing. The lay of his teeth may somehow demand a delay in the flossing routine, or perhaps quite the opposite. But it is the dentist’s call. Let him be the one to advise you.