Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dental Care for Babies - Don't Neglect It

We've talked about dental implants, veneers and various other ways to enhance the adult smile. Let's not forget the other end of the spectrum: sound oral hygiene should start when we are babies. Ignorance about this fact can explain why, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common chronic disease among children aged 5 to 17 is tooth decay. 

Dentists suggest gently brushing baby's gums even before teeth erupt. Use a soft cloth or gauze after each meal. This gets the child used to it so he will be accustomed to brushing when that first tooth finally makes an appearance. Flossing should begin as soon as teeth erupt next to each other. Your child should be encouraged to brush and floss on her own as soon as she is able.

Children's teeth should also be brushed after they are given medicine, due to the high acid content contained in many medicines for children. I've heard people refer to "baby teeth" as being less important than the "permanent teeth" that ultimately replace them.  Healthy teeth are important to a child's complete health and development.  Dental sealants and fluoride can also help.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking care of your teeth from the very beginning can prevent the need for those implants in adulthood.  Go to the dentist.

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