How to Care for Your Baby’s Teeth
Parents often wonder when they should begin dental care for their baby. Pediatrician David Nichols, M.D. shares tips on when to begin dental care, and how to care for your baby’s teeth.
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I'm Dr. David Nichols. I wanted to talk to you today about your child's dental health, and how to prevent dental caries, better known as tooth decay.
Tooth decay is the most common infectious disease of childhood. It occurs when sugars in the mouth are broken down by bacteria that create acids in the mouth. These acids will degrade the dental enamel. Fluoride, and reduced exposure to sugar, will help prevent this process. One way you can get fluoride is when you're mixing your baby's formula to use fluoridated or fluoride enriched tap water. If you use well water or bottled water, your child may need to have a fluoride supplement.
A way to reduce sugars is to never put your baby to bed with a bottle. Once your baby's born, you need to start cleaning their teeth once or twice a day with either a wet finger or a wet wash rag. Once the first tooth has erupted, around five to seven months, you need to start brushing their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. You need to brush their teeth approximately two minutes, two to three times a day. And remember, the last thing that should touch your child's teeth before bed is a toothbrush.