Bad Dental Habits Can Begin Early

You can do a lot to ensure the state of your child's dental health even when they are just a baby. Read on for some tips that will help instill good dental practices in your child in their early years.

Baby teeth may not be in place forever, but they still need care. Dental decay and bad habits can follow your baby into childhood and adulthood. What you do while your child is very young can help them maintain healthier teeth throughout their life.

Sugar causes cavities, among other things, but the tendency to turn to sugary foods and drinks can begin early. Almost everyone loves and craves sugar, but eating habits as a baby and young child can have an impact on not only on their teeth but also on their weight and overall health long after you are no longer in charge of their actions.

Eating and drinking sugar promotes the growth of bacteria in the mouth, and that can lead to cavities and gum disease. Most harmful of all, though, is when a baby is left to consume a bottle of sugary liquid like juice or soft drinks when being put down to sleep. The sweet liquid could remain in their mouths for hours before being rinsed or brushed away. The longer it sits on the teeth, the more damage it does.

Some parents might counter that those cavities don't matter since baby teeth are destined to fall out anyway. However, though the teeth may be gone, they sometimes leave behind damage to the permanent teeth in addition to the need for orthodontic treatment later. Also, decay can affect a young child's need to develop proper speech patterns.

Begin early by wiping your baby's first teeth with a soft cloth such as a baby washcloth. Be gentle but thorough and don't forget the gum areas. Do so prior to bedtime and after feeding time, and your child will become accustomed to dental hygiene sooner rather than later. As more teeth fully emerge, use a very soft baby toothbrush with some warm water. Begin flossing once several teeth in a row are present.

As for bottles and pacifiers, use caution. Don't fill bottles with sweet liquids. Also avoid using a pacifier dipped in sweet substances.

Take your baby to the dentist and get them used to the experience as soon as they have several teeth. That way, a good relationship can be formed early. Speak to a dentist to find out more about taking care of baby teeth.