Wondering how can I nurse my child without increasing the risk of decay?
Decay is a risk every patient faces, no matter what age they are. But children who are just developing their baby teeth are particularly vulnerable. That’s because children who are young enough to still be nursing from a bottle are also young enough that they need help cleaning their teeth, even if they don’t yet have a complete set of baby teeth. That’s why it’s important to keep some tips related to nursing in mind. Even though baby teeth will eventually be lost, they play an important role in the development of permanent teeth. Keeping these tips in mind can help you protect your little one’s smile as it develops.
First, if you want to nurse your child to sleep, use water instead of milk or juice. These last two drinks contain natural sugars that can contribute to the growth of bacteria. As a result, the formation of decay is encouraged. But with water, your child can receive important nourishment without being exposed to sugars that could harm his young teeth. If you want to give your child juice, do it during the day instead of right at bedtime. It’s also a good idea to have your child drink juice from a cup instead of a bottle, and preferably with a meal or a snack.
Because children who have developed teeth now have another way of taking in nutrients, bottle usage shouldn’t last beyond the 12 to 14 month range. Introducing your child to soft foods that can be easily eaten without a lot of chewing will help him receive important nutrients and open him up to new experiences.
Because nursing your child with a bottle comes with potential risks for decay, learning how to care for your child’s smile is important. For children who are just now getting their first teeth, use a baby toothbrush and just a dot of fluoride toothpaste to clean them. It’s important to brush these teeth front and back. Even though you’re just using a little bit of toothpaste, teeth can still benefit.
Last but not least, we recommend scheduling your child’s visit around the time of his first birthday. Most children will have at least one tooth by the time they’re a year old. During your child’s first visits, which should be scheduled four months apart, our doctors can assess how your child’s smile is developing and propose a treatment for anything that might be found during the appointment.
Has your child developed his very first tooth yet? Do you still have questions about how long your child should be allowed to nurse? Call Kidtastic today. We’re always ready to answer a question or reserve an appointment for one of our young patients. And with locations in Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek, we’re conveniently located.
Don’t put off your child’s essential care. Helping them develop a healthy smile and healthy oral care habits begins with early visits like these. Our doctors have years of experience and training and are eager to help.