Top tips for tooth care

Top tips for tooth care


If you take good care of your baby’s first set of pearly whites, and then teach him as he gets older how to care for his teeth properly, then you’ll be blessed with a lifetime of gorgeous smiles!

  • Get him used to cleaning his mouth, long before his teeth arrive. After you feed him, gently wipe his gums with a damp washcloth wrapped around a finger.
  • Start caring for his teeth as soon as they begin to appear. Sure, the baby teeth aren’t around forever but they are just as important as the permanent teeth that will come later. The baby teeth hold the space that the permanent teeth will need for correct placement and help your baby talk and eat.
  • Look out for holes. The first signs of cavities in baby teeth are usually a discoloration in the tooth. The best way to avoid tooth decay in babies and toddlers, is to never put your child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. If he routinely falls asleep with a bottle, he won’t have brushed his teeth before bed, which means that the sweet drink (and milk has plenty of sugars in it!) has been allowed to coat his teeth for hours. If you must give him a bottle to get him to settle, try offering water only.
  • Give him a drink of water after every meal. With a small drink of water after each meal, most foods will simply wash off your baby's teeth, doing most of the work for you.
  • Make sure that he is getting enough flouride. Flouride is extremely important for preventing tooth decay and was introduced into the water supply for this very reason. If you don’t have access to fluoridated water, ensure you use adult fluoride toothpaste to clean your baby's teeth.  A dot the size of a grain of rice (or a thin smear) is all you need, to avoid giving your child too much fluoride. Don't give your child more until they can learn to rinse and spit it out.
  • Take him to the Dental Nurse. Many parents mistakenly believe that the first visit to the dental nurse coincides with the loss of baby teeth, or the beginning of school. In fact, the first visit to the dentist should take place around the age of 3 (unless you have spotted a problem or your child is complaining of toothache), even it it’s only so he can sit in the big chair, open his mouth and then be congratulated on how beautifully he is looking after his teeth! Dental care is provided free by Dental Nurses - ring your local primary school to find the nearest clinic.

 

This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include Vic. Govt’s Better Health Channel.



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