Happy Mother’s Day—to everyone who is a mother and to everyone who has a mother.
Moms are great, aren’t they? They go to such lengths to care for their families, make sure everyone is fed properly, and keep wailing and tears to a minimum. Unfortunately, some moms may try a little too hard to keep their little ones from crying, and set up their kids for dental catastrophes in the process.
The problem is that even tiny babies need regular dental care—and they probably don’t like it.
Even before teething
The American Dental Association recommends cleaning a baby’s gums as early as possible within the first few days after birth. Following feeding, simply take a clean piece of gauze and gently wipe the gums. The sugars and proteins that are in milk—including mother’s milk or formula—combine with normal bacteria in the mouth to form plaque, the same as in adults.
Baby teeth, which start to come in at about eight to 12 months of age, are susceptible to cavities. Since these teeth are important for chewing and for proper growth and development of the jaws, it’s important to take care of them from the very start.
Happy visits to the dentist
When is the right time to start taking children to the dentist? The ADA recommends a first visit within six months after the first tooth comes in, at least once during the baby’s first year. This visit can be a “well child visit,” and it’s a great time to talk to the dentist about cleaning and caring for the baby’s teeth. After that, children should visit the dentist regularly, just as adults should.
As baby teeth come in, teething can be uncomfortable. Moms can rub the gums gently with a clean finger. A cool spoon or special teething ring may be helpful, too. Your dentist will have suggestions as well.
Teaching a toddler to brush her teeth twice a day may be as appealing to a weary mom as trying to get her to put away her toys. Again, a dentist may have suggestions for tasty toothpaste, child-sized toothbrushes, and hints for making it a pleasant experience for everyone.
Don’t cave in on the sugary drinks
As babies get bigger, moms and dads who feel challenged to get them to settle down for naps or bedtime may resort to giving them a bottle of milk or juice when they lay them in the crib. Here again, the sugars may remain in the baby’s mouth, increasing the possibility of corroding the new baby teeth.
According to a March 6 article in the New York Times, there has been an alarming rise in the number of children with multiple cavities. In fact, some kids come to the dentist with so many, the best method of filling the teeth is under general anesthesia. The article mentions several reasons for such a rise in dental decay in children: Constant eating and drinking, especially sugary drinks; bottled water instead of tap water that contains cavity-fighting fluoride; and improper dental care. This includes skipping the dental visits as well as caving in when a child resists tooth-brushing.
And welcome the Tooth Fairy!
Baby teeth start to loosen and fall out at about age six. These milestones in a child’s life can be exciting for moms as well as for kids. According to a Tooth Fairy website, www.tfairy.com, the average amount the Tooth Fairy leaves for a child’s tooth is $1.10. Just sayin.
Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at PerioSciences. Want to really treat yourself? Try our cool, refreshing AO ProVantage dental gel or AO Pro Rinse. They taste great, and the antioxidants soothe and nurture your gums and oral tissues, working with the natural antioxidants contained in saliva.