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3 Lifestyle Habits That Can Ruin Your Child's Teeth

Parents are always excited when a baby's teeth begin to emerge. But with teeth comes new responsibilities with oral healthcare and hygiene. There are a lot of myths surrounding the proper care and techniques for babies and toddlers. Knowing the truth and the best ways to protect your child's emerging teeth will prevent future cavities and frequent visits to the pediatric dentist.

Harmful Bottle Habits

The bottle is a vital part of your child's early life. But the position of the bottle's nipple behind incoming teeth means that harmful bottle habits can cause early cavities.

Don't fill the bottle with sugary drinks and that includes unsweetened fruit juice. Even the natural sugar can cause tooth decay due to the constant presence of the bottle. Formula, milk, and water are the only liquids that should be in your child's bottle unless otherwise advised by your doctor or dentist. Ask your dentist whether you should give your child tap water instead of bottled water. The fluoride in the tap water is beneficial for emerging teeth.

Your child also shouldn't take the bottle to bed and suck on it throughout the night. The presence of the bottle can cause the emerging teeth to shift out of place due to the pressure.

Insufficient Brushing

When your child only has one or two teeth, minimal amount of brushing could seem sufficient. But a baby or toddler's mouth is as ripe of a breeding ground for harmful oral bacteria as an adult's mouth. So it's important to establish a regular and diligent oral healthcare routine for your child.

Use a soft child's toothbrush and small amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush the existing teeth twice a day. You should also use the toothbrush to gently clean the gums in any areas where teeth have not yet emerged. During the day, you should use a damp cloth to wipe down your child's teeth and gums following every formula or milk feeding.

Failure to Make Dentist Appointments

You might think it's not necessary to make dental appointments for your child until more than a couple of teeth have emerged. But establishing a relationship with a pediatric dentist at the first tooth can help prevent cavities and other oral health problems in the future.

The dentist will monitor the emergence of the teeth and check for the presence of any cavities. Even though baby teeth fall out eventually, it's important to keep the teeth healthy until the adult teeth are ready to come in. Baby teeth are the placeholders for the permanent teeth and an early loss or decay can threaten the permanent tooth.

To learn more, contact a dentist like John Shea DDS