Each February, dentists across the nation partner up to help promote awareness for oral health. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages parents to help establish a dental home by 12 months of age. This helps allow pediatric dentists to provide preventative care, dietary counseling, and comprehensive assessment for oral disease and conditions. The big push here is prevention.
By bringing your baby or toddler, dentists are able to provide helpful prevention tips such as:
- Their bottle is not a pacifier! It is important not to let your child fall asleep with the bottle. If your baby falls asleep immediately after feedings, consider gently wiping down his or her gums.
- 100% all natural juice still contains sugar. While natural juices do not have added sugar, they still contain naturally occuring sugar. These juices can cause cavities, so it’s important to limit the amount and frequency that your child is having. If they’re going to have juice, pair it with mealtime. It’s not as a snack to sip on slowly as they are watching TV. This constantly bathes the teeth with sugar.
- Saliva has cooties. Cavity causing bacteria and viruses can be easily spread through saliva. Often times, parents will share their food and spoons during meal times. Avoid sharing straws and utensils because they can help spread these ‘cooties’ to your child. For example, if a parent has an active cold sore at the time, that can be spread to the baby as well.
- Early preventive visits are key, waiting for toothaches and emergencies are never the best first dental visit. If your child hasn’t gotten their teeth check yet, bring them into your local pediatric dentist for a fun light hearted regular dental exam.