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The importance of oral hygiene: it is never too early to start

As a result, it is very important that parents with the support of pediatricians establish good oral health care from the first weeks of the babies' lives. Although most of us think that dental care is a matter for dentists, parents should discuss oral health very closely with their pediatricians even before a dentist.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established that tooth decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. More than 40 percent of children suffer from tooth decay when they start kindergarten. Children with tooth decay in their milk teeth are at a much higher risk of having tooth decay in their permanent teeth.


Health care professionals know that tooth decay is a disease that lasts a long time, but its can be avoided. Due to its causes and when it starts, the steps to prevent it should ideally begin before delivery with pregnant women and continue with the mother and the small child, starting when the child is approximately 6 months old. Pediatricians are increasingly aware that their own preventive efforts to educate about oral health can help prevent unnecessary tooth decay in children.




The following general guidelines can help parents who want to promote good dental health for their babies:


Fluoride and your child: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in many foods and is also added to drinking water in some cities and countries. It can benefit dental health by strengthening tooth enamel, making them more resistant to acid attacks that can cause tooth decay. They also reduce the ability of the bacterial plaque to produce acid.


Check and clean your baby's teeth: Healthy teeth should all be one color. If you see spots or spots on the teeth, take your baby to the dentist. As soon as your child has a diet, start smearing with fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). Clean your teeth at least twice a day. It is best to clean them right after breakfast and before bedtime. When your child turns 3, you can start using a fluoride toothpaste the size of a pea. Once your child can, teach him to spit the toothpaste to spare, but without rinsing it with water. As your child grows, let him use his own toothbrush. It is best that you put the toothpaste on the toothbrush until your child is about 6 years old. Until the children are 7 or 8 years old, it will be necessary to help them brush. Try brushing your teeth first and then let them finish.


From healthy foods to your baby: Choose drinks and foods that don't have much sugar. Give your child fruits and vegetables instead of candy and cookies. Be careful with dehydrated fruits, such as raisins, as they can easily stick between teeth and cause tooth decay if teeth are not properly brushed.


Prevent tooth decay: Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle at night or during a nap. (If you put your baby to bed with a bottle, fill it with water only). Milk, formula, juices and other sugary drinks, such as soda, have sugar. Sucking in a bottle with liquids that have sugar can cause tooth decay. During the day, do not give your baby bottles with sugary drinks to use as a pacifier. If your baby uses a pacifier, do not put anything sweet like sugar or honey. Near your first birthday, you should teach your child to drink from a cup instead of a bottle.


Talk to your pediatrician to establish a dental medical home: Since your pediatrician will be seeing your baby from the first days and weeks of life, plan to discuss when and how to establish a “dental medical home,” a dentist can give you care. High quality and consistent professional, as is the "medical home" with your pediatrician. Generally, your dentist will want to see your child before his first birthday or in the first six months of the first tooth bud. At the first visit, your dentist can easily check your child's teeth and determine the frequency of future dental check-ups.

Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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