Raising a child is a series of firsts – first step, first word, first tooth. As a parent, it’s important to start your child on a good dental routine at a young age. Here are 8 tips to help you get started:
- Avoid baby-bottle tooth decay by filling your child’s bottle with milk or water instead of sugary juices.
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle because the milk, formula or other sweetened drinks will pool on the teeth and gums, resulting in tooth decay.
- Take time to wipe your baby’s gums with a moistened gauze or soft cloth. After a tooth erupts, use a pea-size amount of toothpaste on a soft toothbrush and gently clean your child’s teeth.
- Take your child to the dentist before his first birthday or when his first tooth erupts.
- Feed your child a balanced diet with fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Crunchy fruit and vegetables help clean your child’s teeth. Choose fresh over processed foods whenever possible.
- Pick proteins over sugary carbohydrates. The best snacks for your child are cheeses, lean meats, and nuts. Sugar-laden cookies and crackers can add to the acids and bacteria in your child’s mouth, leading to cavities.
- Keep your child away from sticky snacks like taffy, caramels and fruit roll-ups, which attach to teeth. Bacteria flourish on teeth coated with sticky candy.
- Help your child brush his teeth twice a day and floss daily.