Infant tooth care is far more important than many parents realize. Many parents assume that since the first teeth will be replaced eventually by adult teeth, that it is unimportant to concentrate on the care and cleaning aspects the way adults do. Unfortunately, nothing is further from the case, and establishing healthy baby teeth is crucial to a healthy smile later in life, as the baby teeth act as placeholders for the eventual eruption of permanent teeth. Providing a clean and healthy path for the permanent teeth will allow them to develop more properly. In addition to this, many people also do not realize that even though baby food is softer than adult food and needs less chewing, the teeth of the infant are still subject to the same bacteria and plaque that adults are. Without daily care for infant teeth, cavities can become a problem that causes pain, poor health and well being and potential illness due to the bacteria present in the mouth of the child. For all of these reasons, it is crucial to understand how to properly care for your baby's teeth.
As a general rule, you should take your baby to be examined by a pediatric dentist before their first birthday. This will give the dentist the ability to assess the progression of the baby teeth and potentially correct any issues that may inhibit the proper development of the adult teeth that will replace them. This first visit may need to be taken previous to the first birthday if you notice that the child is experiencing discomfort in their mouth, or crying excessively due to what might be pain. Many parents are unaware of the high levels of sugar in milk and other baby foods, many of which are sweetened in order to be more appealing. This introduction of sugar into a mouth that may not be being cleaned with the regularity of an adult mouth provides the perfect environment for bacterial growth and plaque buildup, leading to cavities forming or illness. Baby teeth are highly prone to decay because of the foods that children prefer.
As soon as you are able to, it is important to begin to get your child used to brushing their teeth. Initially, this will involve wiping their gums with soft cloth or tissues even before their teeth begin to erupt. This action will clean and massage the gums, as well as preparing the child to not be distressed by the introduction of tooth brushing once their teeth have arrived. At this point, a parent should choose a soft bristle toothbrush and an appropriate toothpaste, and calmly brush their child's teeth after every feeding. Through continual brushings, the child will become more used to having a toothbrush in their mouth, and will accept the action without stress.
Good oral hygiene is important throughout the entire life of a human being, beginning in infancy and going through their entire lifetime. Preparing your child by practicing infant tooth care procedures early on will prepare them for a lifetime of good habits.