Healthy Babies Series - Little Teeth
As Halloween draws nearer, more companies comes up with colourful looking sweet to entice children and their parents. Such sweets are hard to resist even for adults, let alone children! Therefore it's important to remind parents about their children's dental health even if they are milk teeth and one day will be replaced.
On top of sweets and chocolate there are many other factors that can deteriorate the enamel layer on your child's teeth. Here we explore what other factors, other that sweet, will affect the growth of your child's teeth.
Babies are not born with a sweet tooth. Babies will enjoy home-made baby foods without sugar. If you're buying baby foods, look out for the ones without sugar. You don’t have to buy special juices either. Babies will enjoy ordinary fruit juice. For very young babies you should dilute juice with plenty of cooled boiled water.
Sugar and sugary foods can be a tooth’s worst enemy. For good dental health cut down on how often a baby eats sugary foods and drink. Give them as part of a meal instead of between meals if you can. Having sugary foods and drinks too often puts the teeth at risk of tooth decay. This is especially important once the baby teeth start to appear (around 6 months).
It is important never to give sweet drinks in the baby bottle. This can be harmful once a baby’s teeth start appearing. Try not to let the baby develop the habit of sleeping with a bottle at night or at nap time. Infants and toddlers should not be put to bed with a feeding bottle or dinky feeder. Baby’s bottle should be used for feeding – not as a pacifier.
Some babies get sore gums when they are teething. Babies can get restless or irritable, and they might start sleeping or feeding badly. Sometimes this may lead to problems digesting food or to loose stools. Teething doesn't make a baby really sick, though, so any sick child should be seen by a doctor - don't pass it off as just 'teething'.
If baby's gums seem sore or baby seems cranky and dribbles a lot, there are some things that you can do to help.
Try giving baby something to chew on. Like Yummy Mitt!
Babies get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from sucking things - including their own thumbs. There is no real harm in letting them suck their thumbs. Most infants will stop on their own accord. You can expect children to have given up sucking by the age of 4 years.
Thumb-sucking is only really a problem if children go on sucking their thumbs after this age. Some children suck their thumbs very hard. This can pull their teeth out of shape. Children who suck hard should be helped to give up. It you want to help a child to give up sucking, remember that sucking makes the child feel contented and secure. Encourage the child to do other things instead.
When children are learning to walk they are especially likely to fall and injure their teeth or mouth. You should bring a child to see a dentist if they hurt their mouth and the bleeding doesn't stop, or if they damage a tooth, or if they fall and drive a tooth back up into their gum. Your dentist will be able to take an x-ray and decide if anything needs to be done. Very often, all that is needed after an injury is to keep a close eye on the child's teeth and gums for a while, but you should check with a dentist to make sure.
Good, healthy baby teeth will pave the way for good healthy adult teeth. And by helping children to take good care of their teeth, you are starting habits that will last them all their lives.