Being proactive about your child’s oral health is one of the most important gifts you can give as a parent. Starting early is key, so we’ve compiled a list of tips – courtesy of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research – to help you care for your child’s teeth from day one:
● Know which of your baby’s teeth have started to emerge and when. Care of a baby’s teeth begins as soon as they erupt from the gums. Even though this first set of teeth will eventually fall out, proper care is critical to preserve space for the adult teeth and avoid the pains of tooth decay.
● Give your baby healthy foods that are low in sugar. A nutrient-rich diet is important in building bone mass and fighting against plaque.
● Avoid giving your baby a bottle as he falls asleep. Any sugars from the milk or juice will pool in the mouth and potentially cause damage and decay.
● Research your drinking water and find out if it includes fluoride. If not, talk to your dentist about a special fluoride prescription for your child.
● Monitor the quality of your baby’s teeth. Are they all one color? Do they have any stains? If anything looks suspicious, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist.
● Clean your baby’s teeth. Before age 2, parents should run a clean, soft cloth over the child’s teeth; after that age, a toothbrush may be used with a very tiny amount of toothpaste. The NIDCR recommends that parents assist their children with brushing at least until the age of 8 to help establish good brushing practices.
Finally, remember: Your child’s first visit to the dentist should occur by his first birthday. By maintaining a regular appointment schedule with a pediatric dentist through your True Care Advantage discount dental plan, you can help ensure your child grows up healthy and happy.