Many children around the age of six and under experience tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars from foods and drinks; this bacterium (mutans streptococci) thus produces an acid that damages the enamel (the outer surface of the tooth). Babies are at high risk because their enamel is very soft. It is vital that we encourage our children to practice good hygiene from a very young age, particularly because tooth decay is so common. Here are some tips and tricks on avoiding tooth decay & creating some healthy habits!.[/vc_column_text]
1. Clean your baby’s dummy that fell onto the floor with water! Caregivers may pass the bacteria through their own saliva! This can be seen in instances when the parent “cleans” the dummy by putting it into their mouth and then giving it to their child.
2. Do not let your baby be settled to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula, or any other type of sweet drink. If your child falls asleep with even the smallest amount of milk, the lactose sugar that is found in the milk feeds thebacterium that causes decay.
3. Brush their teeth once they grow their first tooth! You can use a children’s toothbrush with some water, or even use a wet cloth. From 18 months to six years of age, you can use a small amount of children’s toothpaste.
4. Choose the right toothbrush. Opt for soft bristles so they do not hurt your baby’s gums. If the bristles are too firm, you can always soak the toothbrush in warm water and the bristles should become softer and ready for use.
5. Avoid drinks full of sugar prior to going to bed, or after brushing teeth.