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How to Protect Your Baby from Tooth Decay

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You can take some steps to enhance the oral health of your baby from a very early stage. This article discusses some of those helpful measures that parents can take to reduce the likelihood that their babies will suffer from tooth decay.

Create a Meal Schedule

It is important for you to develop a routine that you follow when feeding your baby. This also applies to babies that are feeding on breast milk alone. Setting and following a feeding schedule limits the opportunities for the formation of acids on the teeth of your baby. For example, feeding the baby every three hours allows the drool produced by the baby during the non-feeding hours to neutralise any acids resulting from bacterial activity in the mouth. Neutralising those acids protects the teeth from being demineralised. Your baby will then be at a lower risk of suffering from tooth decay.

Use Pacifiers Carefully

You can also reduce the likelihood of your baby suffering from tooth decay by limiting how often you dip his or her pacifier in sugary substances, such as jam. Those sugary substances get fermented in the mouth and form acids that corrode the teeth. Limiting the use of those substances therefore lowers the possibility of tooth decay since oral bacteria will be denied the food on which it thrives.

Tweak the Oral Care Routine

It is normally advisable for a parent to brush the teeth of his or her child until that child reaches the age where he or she can perform that task properly, for example at the age of seven. Parents should make changes to the oral hygiene practices to suit the prevailing circumstances. For example, it may be necessary to brush the teeth of your child more frequently in case that baby is receiving oral medications that are sugary. This change is necessary for two key reasons. First, the medication may affect how well saliva can be produced in the baby's mouth. As already stated, saliva is crucial in neutralising any acid formed in the mouth. Reduced saliva production therefore heightens the risk of tooth decay. Secondly, the frequent intake of sugary substances promotes the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Increasing the number of times that you brush your baby's teeth counters this risk of increased bacterial activity.

First-time parents may be uncertain about all the things that they need to do in order to keep the risk of tooth decay low in their babies. Such parents need to voice their concerns to a dentist so that he or she can advise them about the best way to protect the oral health of their baby. Dental visits can also be scheduled so that a professional can monitor the oral health of the baby as it grows.