Parents want to do everything they can to protect their children. But their good intentions may be misguided when it comes to the binky or bottle. Though bottles and pacifiers may help soothe a crying child, they also can contribute to tooth decay.
We’ve outlined some MYTHS and FACTS of children’s oral health to help parents understand how to set their children on the right path to a lifetime of healthy smiles!
Cleaning my baby’s pacifier by putting it in my mouth will do the trick – MYTH
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria which live in the mouth. Mothers and fathers who carry these bacteria—especially those who have many cavities or fillings—can pass them to their baby or child through their saliva. So cleaning that pacifier with your mouth and sharing utensils may increase your child’s cavities. Instead read these great ideas from eHow on how to properly clean a pacifier.
Letting my baby go to sleep with formula is fine – MYTH
Milk, formula, juices, and other sweet drinks such as soda all have sugar in them. Sucking on a bottle filled with liquids that have sugar in them can cause tooth decay. Decayed teeth can cause pain and can cost a lot to fill. Only water should be used for nap or bedtime bottles. Or, try using a pacifier instead.
You don’t have to start brushing children’s teeth until they have three of them – MYTH.
Clean your baby’s teeth as soon as they come in with a clean, soft cloth or a baby’s toothbrush. Clean the teeth at least once a day. It’s best to clean them right before bedtime. And try cleaning baby’s gums after meals with a damp wash cloth or soft infant toothbrush. Begin flossing when all baby teeth have erupted, usually by age two and a half.
Children should have their first dental checkup at one year old – FACT
A child’s first visit to the dentist should be made by his or her first birthday, or within six months after the first tooth erupts, whichever comes first.
My child will get their teeth clean enough by brushing themselves – MYTH
Young children cannot get their teeth clean by themselves. Until they are seven or eight years old, you will need to help them brush. Try brushing their teeth first and then letting them finish. And be sure that you put the toothpaste on the brush, using only a pea-sized amount.
Setting your children on the right path is vital to life-long good oral health habits. By teaching them the habit of brushing and taking them to the dentist by their 1st birthday, you can decrease their chance of tooth decay. For more information on children and good oral health, click here.