• Tips for Keeping Tiny Teeth Healthy

    IMAGE According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is never too early to establish good oral hygiene habits. This will ensure healthy teeth and gums for your child.
    Here are some tips for parents from the ADA.

    Clean Gums for Clean Teeth

    After each feeding, wipe your baby's gums with a clean gauze pad. At birth, your baby already has 20 primary teeth, some of which are almost completely formed in the jaw. Wiping the gums will remove the plaque and bacteria that can harm teeth as they erupt from the gums. Begin brushing with a soft toothbrush when the first tooth erupts.

    Drinks for Bedtime and Nap Time

    Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice, or sweetened liquids. This can lead to tooth decay. Instead, fill a bottle with cool water for your baby.

    First Dental Visit

    Take your child to the dentist by the child's first birthday. The dentist will check for decay and other possible problems and can show you how to properly clean your child's teeth.

    Balanced Diet

    Ensure that your child eats a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the five major food groups:
    • Grain products
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Protein foods such as meat and beans
    • Milk, cheese, and yogurt

    Nutritious Snacks

    Provide nutritious snacks, such as cheese, raw vegetables and fruit, or plain yogurt. Limit the number of starchy or sugary snacks your child eats. After a snack that contains sugars or starches, the teeth are attacked by acids for 20 minutes or more.

    Daily Brushing

    Make sure that your child brushes at least twice a day. Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance once your child is aged two years. Set a good example by brushing your own teeth at least twice a day.

    Daily Flossing

    Teach your child to clean between the teeth daily with floss. A parent should begin using floss on a child's teeth as soon as any two teeth touch.

    Regular Dental Visits

    Take your child to the dentist regularly. Children should know that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will help them take care of their teeth. Be positive and try to make dental visits an enjoyable experience for your child.

    RESOURCES

    American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry http://www.aapd.org/

    American Dental Association http://www.ada.org/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca/

    The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association http://www.cdha.ca/

    References

    American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/.

    How to care for your baby’s teeth. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/eating-nutrition/teeth-teething/how-to-care-for-your-babys-teeth.html Published June 2005. Updated September 2010. Accessed December 12, 2011.

    Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Tooth Decay in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/fact%5Fsheets/fl%5Fcaries.htm. Updated January 7, 2011. Accessed December 29, 2011

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