Parental Care of Tiny Teeth and Tiny Bodies

Smiling Baby with new teethUntil your children are capable of understanding the need to take care of their teeth, and how to do it well, practicing good oral hygiene habits falls to you. While your baby’s teeth are erupting, you must keep those baby teeth clean and the surrounding gums free from irritation and disease. A healthy body starts with a healthy mouth, and that tiny newly born body has enough to do without having to fight an infection. Here are some common mistakes made by new parents which will have an impact on their child’s dental, and overall, health.

Putting Baby to Bed with a Bottle – Not only is there a risk of your little one choking when you allow him to self-feed with a bottle in bed, but you are putting him at risk for tooth decay. The sugar in any type of milk will decay your child’s teeth, especially for those children who fall asleep holding their own bottle and the milk is left to pool in their mouths. Laying down while drinking also puts him at risk for ear infections and poor sleep associations. However, if you find that the practice works for you, take the bottle from him before he is asleep and wash his gums and teeth to prevent decay.

Giving Fluoride Too Liberally – Fluoride is found naturally in the human body as calcium fluoride, yet Dr. Jana Gyurina may recommend fluoride tablets to help your child develop strong, healthy teeth. But, while teeth are still forming under the gums in early childhood, consuming too much fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis. The timing, duration, and dosage of fluoride will determine the severity of this condition. The side effects of dental fluorosis on baby teeth are brittleness, surface pitting, and staining that ranges from barely noticeable spots to severe brown stains. When given excessively, fluoride can be toxic, leading to swelling of the kidney, and other gastrointestinal side effects. Be careful to follow the fluoride treatment instructions Dr. Jana provides when administering fluoride to your child.

Sharing Saliva – Most adults have around twenty-five types of bacteria in their saliva, several of which are associated with causing and exacerbating dental cavities. The bacteria consume food particles and produce acid which causes demineralization of the tooth. Your new baby isn’t born with these cavity-causing bacteria; he must be infected. Mothers have been identified as the primary source of bacterial colonization in her infant’s mouth. Sharing silverware, cups, food, toothbrushes, holding pacifiers with your lips to free your hands, or licking your finger before cleaning a smudge from the corner of your child’s mouth can introduce the bacteria in your saliva to your child’s.

To help avoid forming detrimental habits and bacteria sharing, come see Dr. Jana to ask about about family dentistry and come in regularly for your check-ups and cleanings. While you’re in the office, discuss your oral hygiene habits with her to be sure your daily routine is adequate, and to ask questions you may have regarding your baby’s dental care as well. Call or contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

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