If you are pregnant or have just become a new parent, you may already be thinking of ways to keep your little one healthy and happy. Your child's oral health is likely a primary concern.
Here are a few ways to keep your baby's mouth as healthy as possible.
Breastfeeding provides a host of health benefits for your little one, and some of these benefits extend to the baby's teeth and gums.
Good Nutritional Foundation for Tooth Growth
Just as the other parts of your baby's body require good nutrition in order to develop properly, your baby's tooth development is also dependent on the receipt of proper nutrients. Breast milk provides your baby with the right nutrients in a form that is more easily digested than manufactured counterparts, such as formula.
Less Dental Misalignment.
As a baby feeds from the breast, the little one's jaws are strengthened, and undue stress is not placed on the palates to alter their natural shape. Still, a baby who is breastfed could still need an orthodontic adjustment in the future due to other factors, such as the inherited shape of their mouth, early tooth loss, or thumb-sucking.
Less Early Decay
Tooth decay may even develop in babies and toddlers. A special type of decay, which is called "baby bottle decay," can occur when a child sucks from a bottle for long periods, especially as they rest.
The contents of the bottle pool in the little one's mouth, bathing the teeth and gums in sugars. Many parents feel that juice and milk are healthy and would not be detrimental to their child's teeth. However, that is not the case. Juice and milk contain large amounts of natural sugar that readily incite decay.
Since breastfeeding only occurs during limited periods and the release of the milk is not incited when the child stops sucking, the chance of this form of decay is lower for a breastfed baby.
Clean the Baby's Mouth
Plaque develops in a baby's mouth just as it does in the mouth of an older person. As a result, it is important to remove the decay-causing substance regularly.
To clean your baby's mouth, use a damp washcloth to gently wipe the gums and teeth. A small toothbrush or finger brush is also suitable.
Visit a Dentist
As soon as your child's first teeth erupt, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your local area. The dentist can assess your little one's teeth and gums and make recommendations to preserve the child's oral health.