teeth, care of

Care guidelines for infants' and childrens' teeth:

  • Teething - one piece teething rings only. Don't rub sugar syrup on the teething ring for decay reasons. I am no fan of commercial teething preparations
  • Fluoride supplementation by 6 months in areas that lack adequate fluoride in the local water (or your well, if you have one). Call your health department for information about your local water supply fluoride levels. Fluoride supplementation to at least age 16 if necessary.
  • Cleaning starts with wiping with a cloth when teeth erupt
  • Introduce a toothbrush with a pea-sized bead of fluoride toothpaste around a year of age (too much fluoride is just as bad for the teeth as too little, and there is a lot of fluoride in that toothpaste)
  • Don't worry about thumb sucking now
  • Don't put your baby in bed with a bottle and don't let your toddler walk around the house with a bottle - this causes rapid decay of the front teeth
  • Teach your child to drink from a cup as soon as possible - between 6 and 12 months - and get off the bottle around a year
  • Take your child to the dentist at age three
  • Confer with your pediatrician about seeing a dentist before age three if
    • if you see any white, yellow or brown spots on the teeth that won't brush off - they could be decay
    • Your child chips a tooth badly
    • Knocks a baby tooth loose or badly out of place
    • A tooth seems sensitive to hot or cold liquids - it could be decayed

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