5 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Teeth in the First Year

In the first year of life, babies are growing and developing at a rapid pace. One of those things that you will see a dramatic change in is their teeth. So how do you keep those pearly whites healthy while they’re still young? Follow these five rules of thumb.

Cut Down on Juice

Juice contains a lot of natural and often added sugars, which can encourage an environment for decay. Avoid giving juice to your child before 6 months of age, and keep it to 4-5 ounces of juice maximum daily.

Watch Out for “Baby Bottle Decay”

Baby bottle decay occurs when sugary, sweet liquids are exposed to a child’s teeth over a prolonged time, causing plaque to build up and ultimately the decaying of the teeth. You can avoid this by avoiding sweet drinks as well as cleaning the teeth or massaging the gums in areas without teeth daily.

Skip the Sticky Snacks

There are some foods out today that are geared towards children that contain sticky gums and fillers. Although tasty, these treats can get stuck around the teeth especially if the teeth are not being properly cleaned regularly, causing decay and long term negative effects. The best answer? Skip these snacks all together and try snack that clean the teeth instead such as apples.

Encourage Bottle-Free Sleeping

During sleep, saliva production reduces, giving bacteria easier access to your baby’s teeth. Instead of letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle filled with milk or juice in it, fill it with water to reduce the harmful effects of sitting bacteria. However, the best possible solution is of course to eliminate all together your baby falling asleep with a bottle in their mouth. Easier said than done, right?

Schedule Their First Appointment

Schedule your child’s first dental appointment between the ages of 2 to 3 unless there is a problem with your child’s teeth prior to this age. By this time, he or she typically has multiple teeth which will need preventative care and attention to maintain a healthy mouth as they continue to grow. Plus, your doctor can make sure that there aren’t any other underlying issues that will cause problems for your child in the long run. Bringing your child with you to your appointment prior to this age will help familiarize them with the dental office.

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