What dental care should I be doing for my infant?
It’s a great question. One I am often asked.
I will answer it by talking about what I say to my patients who have infants and toddlers, say up to the age of three.
In my opinion the most important thing at this age is the DIET!
Yes, I believe more important than brushing your teeth.
Over the last 35 years of seeing patients I have often seen children under the age of 4 who have three or four decayed teeth, sometimes down to the nerve. This obviously shocks the parents who will say ‘but the child brushes their teeth’. Yes, the child does but the holes in the teeth still happen.
Too much sugar in what they are eating and or drinking! Especially in between meals, snacking out or drinking during the day. Sugar is converted to acid by the bacteria which live naturally in our mouths. Saliva helps protect the teeth from the acid attack and brushing helps remove a lot of the bacteria/plaque which live naturally on and around our teeth and gums.
If the child snacks out on sugary foods in between meals and sips liquids which have a lot of sugar in them then their teeth experience an acid attack. If this process is repeated a few times a day when there is not a lot of saliva in their mouth and they haven’t recently brushed their teeth, you get decay. There are a lot of hidden sugars in manufactured so called natural foods and drinks.
So, yes brushing is important but I believe the diet is just as if not more important. Infants and toddlers put everything in their mouths so give them a tooth brush and more than likely they will put it in their mouth and chew on it. I believe that this alone will be enough to remove plaque from their teeth and gums, and promote saliva which neutralises the acids.
I hope this helps and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask us.
Dr Chris Pazios and the team at Dental on Fullarton.