Posted by: Katie Gorodetsky, WIC's Immunization Coordiator
Good oral hygiene is essential for your child from the very start. That’s because healthy gums and teeth help your child chew properly and speak clearly. What’s more, teeth and gums also shape your child’s face and make way for adult teeth to come in properly. Dental decay in baby teeth can have serious affects on your child’s overall health.
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take starting as soon as your baby’s teeth come in to prevent decay.
• Clean your baby’s gums with a soft, clean, moist cloth after each feeding. Once your child’s teeth start to come in, use a child-sized soft bristled toothbrush with a smear of fluoride toothpaste. At about age 2, begin using a pea-size amount of toothpaste.
• Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle. Milk, formula, juice, and other drinks such as soda all have sugar in them. If sugary liquids stay on your baby's teeth too long, it can lead to tooth decay.
• Feed your baby healthy foods, and limit foods that will stick to teeth such as raisins.
• Fluoride protects teeth from decay. Fluoride can be found in toothpaste, some foods, and in the drinking water of most cities and towns.
• Schedule your baby’s first visit to a licensed dental provider when his or her first tooth erupts or by his or her first birthday.
• Lead by example and be a role model for your child by eating healthy and brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time.
Help children develop good oral hygiene habits to keep them healthy and smiling for life!