2 Measures You Should Take To Protect Your Baby's Primary Teeth

If you are a new parent, you may be wondering how to protect the teeth of your little one from dental decay. The first teeth that present are usually the two central incisors of the lower palate. If your baby is not an early presenter, his or her first little teeth should erupt when your little one is between six months and 10 months old. 

In order to protect the health of your baby's primary teeth, there are measures that you should take. Here a few:

Make brushing fun.

Start brushing the first teeth at least twice a day, and make it fun. For babies, there are specially designed finger toothbrushes available that allow you to easily control the amount of brushing pressure applied to tiny teeth and sensitive gums. In addition, since little ones enjoy their parent's touch, brushing can be playful and fun with a finger brush. 

Since your child may like to experiment with new flavors, choose a toothpaste with a mild but sweet flavor. Pastes made for older children and adult may be too strongly flavored for a baby. Breath-freshening mint may burn your little one's mouth. 

In addition, toothpaste that is designed for babies and toddlers is usually fluoride-free, so you won't have to worry about your baby being poisoned by ingesting large amounts of fluoride.

Don't allow your child to sleep with a bottle.

Babies often use bottles to comfort themselves. The sucking action and the familiar, sweet taste of milk can be soothing. However, the sugars in milk and formula are favorite foods for oral bacteria that digest the sugars and release acid as a byproduct. 

The acid dissolves the minerals in your baby's teeth and inflames sensitive gums. Since the pH of acid is less than 7.0, which is the neutral pH of pure water, the addition of an alkaline substance that has a pH that is greater than 7.0 can help neutralize the acid in your baby's mouth. 

Saliva is usually alkaline in children and typically has a pH that is close to 7.5. This characteristic helps keep your baby's teeth free of decay. However, as your child sleeps, saliva production slows down, and your baby's swallowing reflex is less responsive. Thus, sugary liquid can pool around your baby's teeth to cause decay, and demineralizing acid is left unchecked.

Your baby's dental health is dependent on the steps you take to keep his or her teeth and gums healthy. If your little one's teeth are already visible, be sure to schedule a first dental appointment at Martinsville Family Dentistry as soon as possible.