As your baby’s teeth emerge within the first year, it’s time for parents to start thinking about kids oral hygiene. Regular brushing, a healthy diet, and dental visits (after age 1) are some of the best ways to prevent cavities. Yet, experts say many parents are still falling short when it comes to taking care of baby teeth.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes that you can make with your kid’s teeth:
1. Letting young children brush alone.
Since most children don’t have the motor skills to brush effectively until they are 8-years-old, parents need to supervise brushing and check to make sure every surface of each tooth is clean.
2. Putting baby to sleep with a bottle.
A LOT of parents are guilty of this habit, however it is the easiest way to cause tooth decay. As much as 85% of parents say they know it isn’t a good idea to put their babies to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, yet 20% still do it anyway.
Whether it’s a bottle at bedtime or a sippy cup all day long, the habit keeps the sugar and bacteria levels in the mouth elevated all of the time.
3. Making the first dentist appointment too late.
Experts say it’s common to see children ages 2 or 3 years-old who need to go under general anesthesia to treat cavities and infections. One of the explanations for this is that parents aren’t bringing their babies to the dentist early enough. The first trip to the dentist should either be when the first tooth erupts or by your baby’s first birthday.
Remember: Cavities are a big deal. You might think treating a cavity is an easy fix, but they can affect your child throughout his lifetime. To begin with, healthy baby teeth are necessary to maintain space for adult teeth.
Cavities at an early age. especially if they are not treated, can also lead to problems with speech articulation, poor sleep, and even low self-esteem and school performance.