Dental hygiene starts before your baby’s first teeth come in. Like your mouth, your baby’s mouth is host to a small ecosystem of bacteria. When those bacteria encounter sugar, they eat it and excrete acid as part of their waste process. You need to be proactive to prevent baby bottle tooth decay, and your friendly South Charlotte family dentist at Park Cedar Dentistry can help.
The primary cause of baby bottle tooth decay and natal gum disease is leaving a bottle full of milk or juice in the baby’s mouth overnight. It’s a common technique to hush a baby up so that they’ll go to sleep. Unfortunately, this lets the milk or juice will pool in the mouth and gum area, and give the bacterial cultures there an all-they-can-eat buffet of sugars.
Switch out your baby’s nighttime feeding routine with a pacifier, and don’t dip the pacifier in anything sweet – that just changes the problem out for another. After you finish feeding your baby or nursing them, take a damp cloth with a little bit of mouthwash, and wipe down the inside of their mouths. Your baby will fuss and cry over this, in part because mouthwash tastes terrible and stings a little – but it’s easily the best thing you can do for oral hygiene. Your family dentistry practice can teach you more effective ways to do this.
Several South Charlotte family dentists have programs for teaching parents how to handle oral hygiene for infants and toddlers, and they’ll be glad to help with this. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that your baby’s first dental visit be scheduled between the ages of six and nine months.
If you think it’s odd to schedule your child’s first dental appointment so early, understand that family dentistry practices handling infants and toddlers are getting overwhelmed with these kinds of cases. Your dentist will work with you on ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay; it’s one of the simplest things you can do to help your baby’s overall health – not only are you preventing tooth decay, you’re also helping combat the odd accrual of bacteria that comes from a baby crawling on the floor and doing taste tests of anything they find there.
Every parent wants to do well by their child, to see them grow up healthy and safe. Being proactive about dental care is one way to do this – and it’s a cost effective method. Studies show that babies whose first dental visit is before the age of one have fewer dental issues over their lives.