As parents there are plenty of life lessons we want to instill in our children, and good oral health habits have always remained chief among much of the pack. This may prove no easy task when you have a baby on your hands – it’s hard enough teaching them to sleep through the night!
Here are a few tips for laying the foundation for life long health in the smile department:
Don’t Wait on Brushing
Spring for the earliest opportunity to teach your child the importance of brushing – even before your child has any teeth. You can very gently brush his or her gums or use a safe sterile washcloth.
This process becomes even more important when you see baby teeth sprout, although many people believe it’s unnecessary to care for infant teeth. Caring for infant teeth ensures permanent teeth have a solid chance to grow in the way they were intended – when teeth appear, brush them twice daily using a fluoridated toothpaste.
Beware of the Bottle
Avoid putting your child down to rest with a bottle of juice, formula, or milk. These sugary beverages cling to their teeth, nourishing bacteria that promote decay. If your child needs a bottle when sleeping, make sure to simply fill it with water.
Ditch the Binky
Is your child still using a binky at age 3? It’s time to wean them off. Pacifiers are important in the early stage of life as they can potentially prevent sudden infant death syndrome, but their benefits quickly diminish over time. The constant sucking motion can actually affect the way teeth develop in the mouth.
Set a Great Example
Show your child you care about their oral health and remember to be patient with them. Use positive reinforcement to encourage their brushing habits and set a great example by following a healthy routine yourself.
For even more child-related oral health tips, visit Web MD.