- If your child has a bottle using only water, breast milk or formula; nothing else. Take it away from them once they have finished doing not leave it with them in the cot. If your child is eating solid foods a bottle is not required anymore and should be stopped by about 12 months old. This is the BEST way to prevent early tooth decay and if these tips are not followed it is the main reason for dental decay in babies
- Brush your baby’s teeth with a small headed soft toothbrush or flannel as soon as they come through twice a day, usually after breakfast and before bed. Use children’s formulated toothpaste from 18 months old, a small smear or pea-sized amount pushed into the bristles. Encourage spiting and not rinsing, not to swallow.
- Lifting your baby’s top lip regularly to check for early signs of decay. These look like white lines on the teeth along the gum line. If you notice these contact use as soon as possible!
- Healthy snacks including fruit, vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese. Eating foods with sugar (which can be hidden in some foods well) frequently throughout the day increases the risk and dental cavities.
- Drink plain water! Avoid juice, flavoured milk, sparkling water, cordial, soft drinks, energy drinks
- Learn to read food labels to see how much sugar is in the food and types of sugars. An excellent guide can be found here: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/eatingwell/efh_food_label_example_130621.pdf
- Teething pain can be soothed with a cold teething ring or cold wet flannel. If your child is sick choose medicines that are sugar-free where possible
- Dummy use can soothe your child and help them sleep. There is no need to dip it or place something sweet on it. Always clean the dummy with water and not in your mouth. Ideally, these should be stopped before 2 years old to prevent damage to their developing jaw. Cutting dummy use to only sleep times, positive reinforcement and making if fun and involving them in this process can make it a bit easier. Remember the sooner this habit is stopped the better the chance the jaw can recover and correct your child’s teeth alignment
I have experienced this myself with my son Luca. At about 18-24 months we noticed his front teeth and jaw changing shape in a negative way due to constant dummy use and we knew it was time to say goodbye to it. It is not an easy process but using the above tips can help wean your child of this habit. Make it positive and be persistent!
Posted on August 2018 by Jesse Trento (OHT)
If you have any questions and would like to kick-start your child a healthy smile call us today on 83822410 for an appointment with Jesse, our children’s Oral Health Therapist.