Babies and Bottles: Myths and Facts
When parents baby proof, they looks for items toddling children may put in their mouths and swallow. Much attention is paid to the plethora of foreign objects that babies want to taste. But, what parents may not consider are the items their children are supposed to put in their mouth. Bottles and pacifiers used in the early years can contribute to tooth decay. We’ve outlined the MYTHS and FACTS of children's oral health to help parents understand how to set their child's smile on the right track. Letting my baby go to sleep with formula is fine – MYTH Milk, formula, juices and other sweet drinks such as soda all contain sugar. Sucking on a bottle filled with liquids that have sugar can cause tooth decay. Decayed teeth can cause pain and can cost a lot of money to treat. Only water should be used for nap or bedtime bottles. Or, try using a pacifier instead. You should wipe your children’s gums after feedings, even before they have teeth – FACT Wiping the gums helps promote production of salvia and good oral health. You do not have to start brushing children’s teeth until they have three of them – MYTH. Clean your baby's teeth as soon as they come in with a clean, soft cloth or a baby's toothbrush. Clean the teeth at least once a day. It's best to clean them right before bedtime. Begin flossing when all baby teeth have erupted, usually by age two and a half. My child will get their teeth clean enough by brushing all by themselves – MYTHYoung children cannot get their teeth clean by themselves. Until they are seven or eight years old, you will need to help them brush. Try brushing their teeth first and then letting them finish. And be sure that you put the toothpaste on the brush, use only a pea-sized amount. Cleaning my baby’s pacifier by putting it in my mouth will do the trick – MYTHTooth decay is caused by bacteria which live in the mouth. Mothers who carry these bacteria—especially those who have many cavities or fillings—can pass them to their baby or child through their saliva. Children should have their first dental checkup at one year old – FACT A child’s first visit to the dentist should be made by his or her first birthday, or within six months after the first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. Setting you children on the right path is vital to life-long good oral health. By teaching them the habits of brushing, they will decrease their chance of tooth decay. For more information on children and good oral health, click here.