As a new parent, you want to do everything in your power to give your child the best opportunities and keep them in the best health. As you learn more about how to take care of your child's oral health, here are four mistakes you'll want to avoid.
Unknowingly Spreading Cavity-Causing Bacteria
According to NBC, studies have shown that cavity-causing bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, can spread from parents to babies through saliva. This means that if you share utensils and bites of food with your young child, then you could be spreading bacteria that can cause cavities. Even blowing on hot food or kissing your child on the lips could spread this bacteria, so it's important to try and limit these habits. Make sure that if your child wants to try some food, they have their own utensils. Instead of kissing child on the lips, consider kissing them on the cheeks instead.
Give Them a Sippy Cup to Take to Bed
Tooth decay in babies and young children is often called "baby-bottle tooth decay." Juice, milk, and formula have natural sugars that can cling to baby teeth and even to gum tissues. After your child drinks these beverages, it's important to wipe their gums with clean washcloths after feeding. You may be tempted to give your child a bottle to take to bed, but it's best not to. If you must, fill it with water. Sugary drinks at bedtime or nap-time can be a problem because saliva flow decreases while a child sleeps. Saliva is the body's natural cleaning agent, so your child can be more prone to decay if they take a bottle to bed.
Providing Too Much Fluoride Too Soon
Fluoride is an important element since it helps to strengthen teeth and protect against cavities. However, young children shouldn't have too much fluoride, as it can cause dental fluorosis. This condition cause tooth pitting and brown and white tooth discolorations. While fluorosis isn't inherently dangerous to oral health, it can cause cosmetic issues that might bother your child if it develops on adult teeth.
Waiting Too Long for Pediatric Dental Visits
Believe it or not, dentists recommend that you take your child in for an appointment when their first baby tooth comes in. Even though your child may be very young, early visits are important to help them develop rapport and avoid potential dental phobias. Pediatric dentists, like those at Dentistry For Children & Adolescents, are important professionals because they can help you manage conditions that are specific to children and identify and prevent early orthodontic issues.
Contact a pediatric dentist in your area today to learn more on how you can help your child develop solid oral hygiene and good lifelong habits.