Do you know how to look after your baby’s teeth?

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I thought I did but after going to a dental health talk provided but the NHS I didn’t know as much as I do now. There are so many things that I got told today that I never would have thought about or known. Lots of what I am going to write is going to be taken from the NHS leaflets that we were given but I thought the information was too good not to share.

Should you worry about your baby’s milk teeth?

In short – YES! We all know they fall out and are replaced by adult teeth so some people don’t see the importance of looking after them as well as they should. A baby’s milk teeth are important because:
• they affect a child’s appearance (and self-esteem to a certain extent)
• they also help to aid speech,
• they allow children to eat a varied diet and
• they hold the space for the adult teeth to come through.

New research has shown that poor oral health is linked to:
• diabetes
• strokes
• heart disease
• obesity
• lung disease and
• dementia

When will your little one start to get teeth?

Even though the teeth are moving constantly and possible causing your little one pain (hence all the chewing of fists and, well pretty much anything they can get their hand on) most children will get their first tooth between 6 and 12 months. The last of the milk teeth should come through by the time your baby is 3.

Signs of teething

• excess dribbling
• red ear lobe (on affected side of mouth)
• red cheek or cheeks

Some remedies most often used to help relieve the pain and discomfort of teething are:
• cold, water filled teething rings
• homeopathic teething granules
• teething gel
• sugar-free (ideally) paracetamol or ibuprofen liquid suitable for babies

Brushing you babies teeth when they do come through

You should start brushing your babies teeth as soon as the first one appears. Even then, you should try and brush their teeth/tooth for the recommended 2 minutes so they get used to doing it for this time. Use an appropriate brush (small head and soft bristles) and brush them twice a day (morning and night).

You should use a fluoride toothpaste; children under 3 should have a toothpaste with no less than 1000 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride and it’s best to use a mint flavoured paste from the start as fruit flavoured pastes do not contain enough fluoride and encourage children to eat the paste (this can be very harmful in large quantities).

Sippy Cups and Bottles

The NHS actually recommend that a child should start to learn to drink from an open cup from 6 months old as this will help them to develop the lip and tongue muscles needed for speech (you do not get this development if using a bottle or sippy/spout cup).

By ONE year old, your baby should NOT be using a bottle.

Dummies and thumb sucking

All babies are born with a sucking reflex which enables them to feed. This natural desire to suck may mean they use a dummy or their thumb to pacify themselves. This sucking reflex disappears when your baby is weaned off food and then becomes a habit. Therefore, the NHS recommend that you start weaning your child off the dummy/thumb as you wean them and that they should not use a dummy or suck their thumb after they are one.

If you use a dummy, it should be orthodontic recommended and always kept clean.

Fighting the fear of dentists

To help your little one to not have a fear of going to the dentist, you should take them with you every time you go (from birth). This will help them get used to the smell and all the different noises.

Let them sit on your lap at one year old and just have the dentist look in their mouth. By two, they should have a proper check and you should have regular yearly check-ups from then on.

For more information on your child’s dental health visit: www.nhs/livewell/dentalhealth

Image: http://www.almadental.com/family-dentistry/childrens-nhs-dentist-north-shields-whitley-bay/

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