Lesson #2: Care for Toddler’s Teeth as Soon as They Emerge
Once you can start to see your child’s teeth they are susceptible to decay. Children with tooth decay are prone to infection and tooth aches. One dental hygienist who nursed her little ones, started cleaning her baby’s mouth to get the babe comfortable with this idea. A warm cloth to rub/massage the gums after feedings or the finger toothbrush should do a good job of that along with disrupting bacteria. Then, once your child’s teeth emerge, brush their teeth each morning and night with a soft bristle brush with just a small smear of age appropriate toothpaste. The child won’t spit it out, nor can you rinse for the first year or so. It’s possible to give too much fluoride so just the smear, no more than the size of a grain of rice. How to brush teeth of a toddler? A brief video.
You already know this but it’s worth repeating. Keep sugary foods and drink to a minimum. We have temptations all around us. Serve your child water or milk to drink, not juice. Don’t have sugary foods like dried fruits including ones we may think of as healthy like raisins and dried mango, which my daughters loved. If you do serve a sweet food--dessert--have it with a meal rather than as a snack.
If you eat sweets, serve them with a meal
How does a cavity form? If we eat sugar (including milk, the natural sugars in milk), naturally occuring bacteria in our mouth digest the sugars. This natural bacteria eat the sugar, digest and produce lactic acid. Lactic acid erodes the enamel of the tooth and for 45 minutes afterwards, reduces the PH in the mouth. A low PH in the mouth makes it easier for the enamel, the outermost layer of the tooth, to come a step closer toward having a cavity.
Avoid candy. If you eat sweets, have them with a meal.