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Did you know that dental hygiene and treatment were one of the first types of healthcare invented? That’s because poor dental hygiene can cause multiple dangerous conditions. So when should you start trying to make sure your child has the best dental health possible?
The answer is as soon as possible, and we’re here to give you 7 ways to make sure you can do that.
Start with yourself
In order to make your child as healthy as possible, you first need to focus on your own health – especially if they’re not born yet. You’ve likely been told about the importance of eating nutritious food and avoiding alcohol, but letting your dental health slip can be extremely damaging to your unborn child.
Failing to maintain good dental hygiene in yourself can lead to an excessive build-up of harmful bacteria. This, in turn, can work its way into your bloodstream and begin travelling towards the uterus. In the worst-case scenario, this can even cause premature birth.
Another unintended side effect is the ‘vertical transmission’ of harmful bacteria. This is where the bacteria in the mother’s mouth is unintentionally passed to the mouth of the child. Certain aggressive bacteria can even cause cavities in children as young as 2 years old. Have peace of mind for you and your baby, and care for your smile in Oakbrook Terrace IL.
That is why it is imperative that the mother focuses on keeping her own mouth as healthy as possible, even after she has given birth. Maintaining a strong dental hygiene routine is the greatest way to eliminate any harmful bacteria that tries to settle in your mouth.
Clean Their Gums
Once your baby is born, they’ll have roughly 20 teeth in their mouth that haven’t come through yet. Since it’s impossible to when they’ll start coming through, and that bad bacteria can start causing damage, it’s best to clean your baby’s mouth on a regular basis.
While some would suggest gently rubbing a damp cloth along your baby’s gums, unless it’s cleaned properly twice a day, this can be unhygienic and simply spread bacteria. Alternatively, we prefer using sterile, disposable teething wipes. This can easily clean your baby’s gum from the harmful bacteria that may be lurking.
Not only does cleaning their gums provide a soothing effect (especially when they start teething), but it also gets them used to the feeling of having something in their mouth. This means they’ll be far more open to transitioning to a toothbrush, rather than simply starting with one once their teeth have come through. When you do start with a toothbrush though, pay special attention to the bristles before you buy.
Soft Bristles for New Teeth
Because babies are incredibly soft and delicate, you should never use hard bristles when cleaning their teeth. Instead, purchase a dedicated toothbrush for babies. This will have incredibly soft bristles, perfect for gently cleaning the front and back of each visible tooth.
You should also try to delicately run the brush along their gums and, if possible, their tongue. By cleaning their tongue, you can prevent bacteria from being reapplied to the teeth, as well as limiting the development of bad breath.
Using toothpaste is not recommended if your child is younger than 2. Instead, you can simply use water to clean their teeth twice a day. It’s also important that your child knows that after they’ve eaten, they’re not allowed to eat or drink anything except water.
Visit the Dentist, Regularly
The easiest way to track your baby’s dental health and know how to improve it is by taking your child to the dentist. They are professionals that can tell you exactly how best to care for your child’s teeth.
It’s recommended that you start taking your child to the dentist shortly after their first birthday. The dentist will be able to have a look and let you know if there are any issues with your child’s teeth.
Not only that, but they’ll also be able to provide you with accurate information on when you should start using fluoride toothpaste, and (more importantly) how much you should be using with them. Regular dentist visits are perfect for spotting any bad habits that could cause damage later in life.
Develop a Dental Routine
This is incredibly necessary for instilling the importance of brushing teeth to your child. The dental hygiene routine should start the same time every day and night, and can even be incorporated into their morning and bedtime routines.
As your child grows up, don’t be afraid to change and give them more responsibility with their routine. It can help them feel more adult, and like they’re imitating their parents. This can include letting them pick their own toothbrush, as well as eventually getting their toothbrush ready by themselves too.
You should experience the best results if you also brush your teeth at the same time as them, so they can learn from copying you. It’ll also help them to understand the importance of keeping their teeth clean.
Avoid a Sugary Diet
This could be one of the best ways to maintain good dental health. If your child is on a diet that has high quantities of sugar in it, then both their health and dental health could be at risk.
Not only does sugar provide the best environment for bacteria and plaque build-up, excessive consumption can also cause other health issues such as diabetes. We’re not saying your child shouldn’t be allowed anything sweet, but making sure they’re not consuming extreme amounts of sugar can go a long way in keeping both them and their teeth healthy.
With regards to sugar products, natural sugars (like those found in fruit and honey) are far better than refined sugars (such as white granulated sugar, corn syrup, or sweets/candy), but even large quantities of natural sugars can cause health issues.
Don’t Forget to Floss
It’s the most forgotten about aspect of keeping our mouths healthy, but it’s also incredibly important. Flossing regularly is imperative to limiting the amount of harmful bacteria and plaque build-up in between our teeth. It’s even more important with babies.
Since this is an area where toothbrushes generally cannot reach (no matter how good they are), the best option is to floss regularly. As soon as your baby has two teeth touching, you should begin flossing between them. Remember to be soft and gentle, otherwise, you risk causing discomfort or pain.
By flossing your child’s teeth at a young age, they’re also far more likely to get used to the feeling, and even incorporate this into their own dental hygiene routine as they grow up.
And those are our top 7 ways to make sure that your baby has the best dental hygiene possible. These tips should not only keep them healthy now, but also build the correct foundation so they continue to look after their dental health throughout their lives.
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