Baby Teeth – Tiny in Size but Big in Importance! Part 1

Baby teeth

Baby teethFor tips on children aged 2 and older, readBaby Teeth – Tiny in Size but Big in Importance! Part 2‘  

Baby teeth may be tiny and only around for a few years but they are extremely important to your baby’s future permanent teeth.  It is essential to look after them from day one to ensure a lifetime of happy dentistry.

Baby teeth not only help children chew, smile and speak but they provide a framework for their adult teeth.  If a baby tooth is lost too early, permanent teeth can drift into the position which can lead to crowding in later years.  This is why tooth decay or ‘caries’ should be avoided during your baby’s development.  Here are some tips to keep those baby teeth healthy:

Babies

  • Newborns have a full set of 20 baby teeth concealed under their gums and you should start cleaning their mouth before these teeth even erupt.  Gently wipe their gums after each feeding with a warm wet washcloth or dampened gauze wrapped around your index finger and never put baby to bed with a bottle.  Milk and juice cause cavities!
  • Also, don’t leave baby sucking on the bottle longer than necessary when he may be just using it for comfort, rather than feeding.  Sucking a dummy or bottle creates a suction effect, sucking in the cheeks which can lead to a narrowing of the jaw and overcrowding as they grow.  Try and discourage the use of a dummy by around one year of age for this reason.

Age One

  • This is a good age for baby’s first visit to the dentist to establish good dental habits.  The dentist will not only check your baby’s teeth are starting to come through as they should, but will pass on valuable information on diet and care of baby’s teeth.
  • At this stage your baby is not using fluoride toothpaste but should drink fluoridated water which most water supplies contain for the purpose of preventing tooth decay.  If you do not have fluoridated water, your dentist may recommend the use of fluoride supplements.

If you suspect your baby’s grizzling is due to teething, you can help by gently rubbing baby’s gums with a clean finger or giving bay something to bite on such as a cold, but not frozen, teething ring.  However it is important to see your GP remains unhappy as teething may not be the cause.

For tips on children aged 2 and older, read ‘Baby Teeth – Tiny in Size but Big in Importance! Part 2