With proper preventive care, your child's smile can last a lifetime. The Indiana Dental Association offers the following tips to help keep your new baby's teeth clean, healthy, and cavity free:
- Parents and other caregivers should keep their mouths as healthy as possible. The bacteria that cause dental disease can be passed from parent to child, so parents and caregivers should brush, floss and see their dentist regularly.
- Avoid risky table manners. Do not share eating utensils or allow your baby to share food or drink after others, and never put the baby's pacifier in someone else's mouth.
- Do not feed your baby juices or sodas. The high-sugar content in these beverages encourages dental decay. Formula, milk and water are the healthiest choices for your child.
- Do not allow your baby to sleep with a bottle or at mom's breast. Even milk can harm teeth if it is allowed to pool in the mouth and is not swallowed.
- After your child's first tooth comes in (between 6-12 months of age) begin cleaning the baby's teeth and gums with water and a fingertip toothbrush, gum massager or an infant toothbrush.
- Wean your child off of the bottle between 12-14 months.
- Schedule your baby's first dental visit by his or her first birthday.
Jody Cleary, Director of Membership & Financial Services