From the time you give birth through the time they become young adults, you are probably concerned about the dental health of your children. Since good oral habits can last a lifetime, it’s important to start early and to be aware of the good and the bad choices we often times make as caregivers to our children. Parents need to understand that cavities can be preventable, but it does take work.
Here are a few examples of very common mistakes parents make when it comes to protecting their baby’s oral health. Parents unknowingly pass off harmful bacteria from their mouths to the mouths of their young children that can increase their children’s risk of having cavities. Have you ever stuck your baby’s pacifier in your mouth to clean it off? Do you ever share food or bite off pieces of your baby’s food? How about sharing a drink or sharing eating utensils? These simple actions may seem harmless, but the bacteria in an adults mouth is not the same as the bacteria found in a young child’s mouth. We try to teach our children to share, but in this case mom and dad, try keeping the bacteria in your mouth to yourself, your baby’s mouth will thank you.
Even before your baby has teeth, you can start good oral hygiene habits by wiping off their gums with a damp washcloth after meals. Once your child begins drinking something other than formula or breast milk, water should be the primary beverage of choice. Only give your child milk or small amounts of juice at mealtime, not as a snack or filler during the day. You can help eliminate harmful acids from eroding your baby’s tooth enamel by having your child drink water after they eat and all throughout the day. So remember, try to eliminate saliva transferring behaviors, drink ample amounts of water and be a good example to your children by modeling healthy oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing twice daily.