Most adults know that dental care plays an important role in helping children maintain good oral health. It may be difficult for new parents to determine when dental care should begin. If you are unsure how to care for your child's teeth, it's important to recognize that proper dental care begins in infancy.
Here are three things you can do to ensure your infant will have the best possible oral health in the future.
1. Recognize that good dental health begins during pregnancy.
Your baby's teeth actually begin forming during the third to sixth months of pregnancy, so it's important that you eat a balanced diet to ensure proper development. Nutrients like Vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium, and phosphorus must be present in the womb for teeth to develop properly.
By eating a diet during your pregnancy that is rich in whole fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, you will ensure that your body is giving your baby the nutrients it needs to develop healthy teeth while in the womb.
2. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
If you feed your infant via a bottle, it can be tempting to place the bottle in bed with your child as they fall asleep. Infant formulas and milk contain sugars that can cause serious dental damage if left unchecked.
As your child falls asleep with a bottle, milk or formula could sit in the mouth for extended periods of time. This gives the sugars in milk or formula an opportunity to break down and begin causing tooth decay. Be sure that you always wipe your child's mouth and gums with a clean rag following a feeding to help deter future tooth decay.
3. Avoid putting teething rings in the freezer.
When your baby's teeth begin to break through, your child might experience some pain. Applying cold teething rings to the gums can help alleviate this pain. Unfortunately, many new parents place teething rings in the freezer, where they become incredibly hard.
Your child could tear or otherwise damage his or her gums with a teething ring that has been in the freezer, which could have a negative effect on the way your child's teeth grow in. Try cooling your baby's teething rings in the fridge instead. This will provide the cooling comfort needed to ease pain while keeping the teething rings soft and pliable.
Taking care of your infant's dental needs doesn't have to be difficult. Contact a dentist like Dentist Dr Frank Despond for more tips.