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Caring for Baby Teeth

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Caring for your child's teeth from the beginning teeth can be crucial for their overall dental health. You might not think it's important to take care of these mini chompers since they just end up with the tooth fairy anyway, but it turns out they are important to the gums, and to the adult teeth preparing to come in underneath.

From the moment that first tooth bursts through your child's gums, there are steps you can take to start a healthy care regimen. Even though your baby is not likely eating sugary solid foods quite yet, the lactose in breast milk and formula can lead to tooth decay. Many pediatricians and dentists, therefore, recommend using a washcloth on your baby's teeth to wipe away the sugars after he eats.

Once your child is older and can start caring for his own teeth, it's important to get him on board with proper oral care. One of the challenges might be getting him interested in brushing his teeth. You might try brushing your own teeth in front of him to spark his curiosity. Little ones can be great imitators, and when you're brushing your own teeth, they might surprise you and point to their own toothbrushes, ready to take part.

It might also help to start the conversation early, explaining why it is so important to care for their teeth. You might read a book about the body that includes the teeth, or one about a trip to the dentist. As he gets older, you can continue the conversation and introduce other dental topics, such as flossing and fluoride.

As with almost everything with children, some days will likely be easier than others when it comes to caring for baby teeth. But know that you're taking the right steps now to help protect your children's dental health in the future, and that's a worthwhile task.