Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dental Care for Babies - Should I Brush My Baby's First Tooth?

Bacteria and their influence on a babies teeth.
Infants are not born with the bacteria that causes tooth decay or gum disease. These bacteria are transmitted to them by their parents, usually the mother. There are common habits that we can change in order to reduce the risk of transmission. These habits include:
  • Verifying the temperature of the baby's food by tasting it, or checking ion your hand
  • Cleaning a baby's pacifier by putting it your mouth
  • Cleaning around the baby's mouth with maternal saliva
  • Kissing the baby directly on the mouth
  • Letting the baby's toothbrush contact an adult's toothbrush
If the mother has a high incidence of decay or gum problems she should have a shock treatment prior to delivery and following delivery to reduce her bacterial flora. The bacteria associated with gum disease can cause premature birth or babies with low birth-weight.
Recommendations from The American Association for Pediatric Dentistry for prevention of decay in infants:
  • Do not leave your baby with a bottle when he/she is put to bed.
  • Make sure you infant has been weaned from the bottle before the age or 1, or before the eruption of first teeth.
  • Do not give your infant juice in the bottle, in infant cups, or boxed juice.
  • Start brushing teeth as soon as they erupt (you can also clean teeth with a wet facecloth at the beginning).
  • The first visit to the dentist should be around the age of 1.
  • Be sure to evaluate the maternal bacterial flora, especially, Strep Mutans.
  • Check you baby's mouth regularly.
Important facts about milk:
Powdered infant formula has 2 effects that can cause problems:
  • it lowers the salivary PH level and therefore enhances the risk of decay
  • it augments the bacterial growth of strains that cause cavities.
Thus, prepared formula is advised rather than the powdered one.
Cow milk has a protective effect as long as the contact is not prolonged (ie. having a bottle through the night).
The fruit juices with the least amount of sugar are orange and grapefruit juice.
The best alternative is breastfeeding.
Fluoride greatly diminishes the metabolic activity of bacteria. It also inhibits certain enzymatic process, in particular the metabolism of glucose into an acid (the cause of dental decay). Consult your pediatrician for concerns about fluoride. Many towns have fluoridated water, and this should be taken into consideration before giving your child a supplement.
Recommendations for young children
  • The use of Xylitol (a natural sugar substitute) kills the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
  • Do not brush teeth immediately after a meal or snack. Wait at least 20 minutes.
  • Train your child to rinse his mouth with water following a meal or a snack.
  • Do not eat or drink (except water) following the last brushing of the day.
  • Brush teeth at least 2-3 times a day.
  • Consult a dental professional starting at age 1.
Dental Care for Babies - Should I Brush My Baby's First Tooth?
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1 comment :

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