Importance of good dental hygiene for babies and young children
Babies are born with a preference for sweet-tasting foods and a baby’s sole source of nutrition for the first few months of life, breastmilk or infant formula, tastes sweet (with the sweetness coming from the carbohydrate lactose). But once weaning onto solids starts, whether your baby’s teeth have started to appear yet or not, it is important to limit the amount and frequency of sugars in their diet. Controlling sugars intake will help to ensure a baby eats a more balanced diet and does not put on too much weight, and will help reduce the risk of dental caries (decay). You can’t remove sugars from a baby’s diet completely and actually sugars can be a really useful source of energy in babies, especially with their small stomachs and high energy requirements. But it’s all about getting the balance right, introducing them to lots of different tastes, avoiding high-sugar foods and drinks, and giving sugar-containing foods and drinks at the right times.
Foods containing sugars should be eaten at mealtimes and should be avoided between meals to keep the risk of dental caries to a minimum. Milk and water remain the preferred drinks for babies and toddlers, but you can give diluted fruit juice as well occasionally at mealtimes. An advantage of fruit juices with vitamin C is that they help the body to absorb vitally necessary iron, but as they contain naturally occurring sugars they should be used sensibly. Try to introduce your baby to a feeding cup or beaker instead of a feeding bottle as early as possible to avoid prolonged contact of sugars with growing teeth.
Cleaning your baby’s teeth needs to become part of their daily routine as soon as teeth start erupting. Use a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste on a soft toothbrush or cloth, cleaning using small circular movements, front and back, in the morning and last thing before bed. Get your toddler used to going to the dentist too - start them off by coming with you for your check-up so that they can get used to the environment – dentists try hard to make children feel comfortable and will often give out stickers too!
For more information on diet and dental health have a look at the following links:-
Bye for now.