Although primary (or baby) teeth are only present during early childhood years, they play an important role in the development of your child’s smile and long term oral health.
This is because primary teeth:
- Help protect developing adult teeth
- Prevent jaw bone loss and gum deterioration
- Retain space within the mouth for the correct positioning of adult teeth
- Support the development of your child’s jaw and facial structure
It is highly important to invest in the health of your child’s baby teeth by maintaining a comprehensive at home dental care routine and visiting the dentist and dental hygienist every six months for a check-up, or yearly at least.
TOP TIPS TO CARE FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS' TEETH
1. Give your baby and toddler whole and unprocessed foods, as much as is possible.
2. There is no reason to ever give your baby or toddler anything with refined sugars, including cakes, biscuits, lollies, ice-cream and sugary drinks, including juices. Some fruit or cheese is a good little treat.
3. Breast feed your baby as long as is possible, and as long as your are comfortable.
4. Never add anything to formula or milk in a bottle or cup. Adding honey or something like that will not make your baby sleep better.
5. Start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they come through, around 6 months of age, but don't worry if they come through later than this.
6. Do brush your toddler's teeth even if they get upset with you about this. The night time brushing is incredibly important to remove all of the food debris that gets stuck in the back teeth to prevent decay.
7. It sounds impossible, but if you can, floss your toddler's teeth from 2.5 years of age.
8. Take your toddler to the dentist around the age of 2.5 for a gentle introduction and ride in the chair, and to make regular dental preventive care a part of life for your child. Six monthly dental checks are best. Polishes with the dentist are normally done around the age of 5 to keep the teeth stain-free.
9. Use a baby toothbrush twice a day from when the teeth come through, and use the smallest dab of child's toothpaste. Keep the toothpaste away from your baby and treat it like a medicine. Change your baby's toothbrush regularly.
10. The baby teeth are critically important to keep the bite in the correct place, and toddlers are often seen with draining and painful abscesses which require General Anaesthetic work with Dental specialists. Although they do all fall out by the time your child is a teenager, the condition of the baby teeth is a marker of how the adult teeth will most likely be.
Good habits from a very early age create good habits for life.