Brushing After Breastfeeding & Bottle
Milk contains natural sugars in the form of lactose, which can cause cavities. Therefore, it is essential to brush your baby/child’s teeth after breastfeeding and bottles. The sugars from the milk can sit on their teeth if their teeth are not being brushed, and cause cavities. Often, cavities will appear on the upper front teeth because this is where the milk passes through and tends to pool. It is essential to brush after breastfeeding and after giving your child bottles of milk.
No Bottles At Night
It is important not to put your baby/child to bed with a bottle at night or for naps. They can fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth, and even with milk pooling around their teeth, exposure their teeth to sugars for a length of time. This can contribute to cavities. Try to make sure your baby/child gets their last bottle, have their teeth brushed, and then goes to bed.
Low Sugar Diet
A balanced diet low in sugar is an essential part of avoiding cavities. Try not to give your child foods with sugars often, and when you do, as a treat. Try to brush and floss your child’s teeth after consuming foods with sugars to prevent cavities. The types of sugary foods that are the most cavity-causing are gummy, sticky and chewy foods such as dried fruit and candies.
No Sugary Vitamins
Most children’s vitamins contain sugar. This daily exposure to sugary vitamins can lead to cavities. Try to make sure the vitamins you buy for your child are sugar-free or sweetened with xylitol.
Brushing and Flossing
It is vital to help brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day. Your child requires your help until around the age of 6-8. Until the age of 6-8, their dexterity and understanding are usually not significant enough to perform a thorough job. Around the age of 6, your child will get their first permanent molars in the back, and these teeth can be particularly susceptible to cavities if not cleaned properly. Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as there are any contacts between teeth, around the age of 4.
Fluoride is an important component in keeping your child’s teeth cavity-free. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel of their teeth to prevent bacteria from penetrating through. Start your child on fluoride toothpaste around the age of 3, with just a small amount (about the size of a grain of rice.) Xylitol is a good alternative or addition to fluoride; it helps by reducing the cavity-causing bacteria.
Regular Check-ups and Cleanings
Lastly, it is crucial for your baby/child to have their teeth checked and cleaned at the dentist regularly. During their appointments, their teeth will be monitored for cavities, their gums assessed for health, their teeth cleaned and brushing and flossing demonstrated.