AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – Parents have plenty of responsibilities to rear healthy, well-rounded children. Oral care is just another responsibility, though it has the potential to affect other aspects of your children’s health.
Poor oral health has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Gum disease can cause complications such as tooth decay, tooth loss and premature births. Good oral health won’t only help your child’s teeth and gums, it will help his whole body stay strong and fit.
Keep Your Baby’s Gums and Teeth Clean
Dr. Joseph Marvizi, a dentist in Long Beach, gives his patients detailed information on infant oral care. He says good oral care starts at birth.
“Use a damp washcloth or piece of gauze to wipe your baby’s gums after every feeding,” Dr. Marvizi says.
Wiping residue from your baby’s gums keeps them free from bacteria that may build up over time, no matter whether you breastfeed or use formula. The act also begins an early ritual of oral health that will hopefully continue throughout your child’s life. Your baby will probably cut his first tooth after about six months of life. It’s time to graduate from gum wiping to the toothbrush once you spot that first little tooth. You won’t need any toothpaste yet; water and the toothbrush will get that first teeth clean enough. You can either choose a small infant toothbrush or use a brush that slips over your finger. The finger brush provides easy control for you to move around your baby’s mouth.
Maintain a Low Sugar Diet
Your baby may now be in the phase where you’re adding juices and mashed food to her diet. Watch the labels of your juices, baby foods and formulas to make sure they’re relatively low in sugar. Sugar can stay on your baby’s gums and teeth providing fertile ground for bacteria to grow. Bacteria can cause gum disease and tooth decay even in the littlest patients’ mouths. Be sure to clean your baby’s mouth after ingesting foods and beverages with sugar.
Bring Your Baby to the Dentist
Many parents aren’t sure when to bring their child in for his first dental appointment. You can schedule your baby’s first appointment when he cuts his first tooth, or you can wait until he turns one. Infants can experience decayed teeth even before they start eating solids, so his first dental visit is important. You can also take this time to ask your dentist any questions you have about your baby’s teeth and gums. Schedule regular dental appointments to be sure your child’s teeth and gums are developing normally. Your dentist and hygienist will work to keep your child’s teeth healthy and free from decay.
Set a Strong Example
Your child will soon start to mimic your behaviors. Use this opportunity to show your child how important oral hygiene is to your health by exhibiting strong oral hygiene practices. Bring your child into the bathroom while you floss and brush. She will likely be interested in your behavior, and if she is, hand her a toothbrush and watch her mimic you.
Make Oral Care Fun
Get your child excited about their oral hygiene by selecting fun character toothpastes and toothbrushes. You can also use a tooth-brushing chart to encourage your little one to take his oral care into his own hands. Use incentives to motivate your child. You can also put on your child’s favorite song while he brushes so teach him to brush for at least two minutes twice a day.
Our staff will gladly monitor your child’s oral health through the years. Contact our office to schedule an appointment for you, your infant, toddler or older child.