Children today have a much better shot at a lifetime of good oral health than their parents did simply because of the recent improvements in treatments, including fluoride and sealants.
ORAL HEALTH STARTS WITH YOU
Want your child to have a healthy grin? You can start working on that even before you they crack their first smile. There’s been a lot of research lately that proves cavities are contagious, and the likely culprit for passing on the germs is the mom. Parents can unknowingly pass on the primary bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) to their newborns via their own saliva.
So how can you help stop the spread of the cavity-causing bacteria? Here are 4 ways:
- AVOID SHARING UTENSILS
It’s easier to share a spoon at dinner – especially when it’s 99.9% likely to end up on the ground if you leave their own spoon lying on their high chair. And when it does end up on the ground, it’s much easier to “rinse off” in your own mouth than to find a new spoon. Be careful. You’re passing on more than just a spoonful of applesauce in the next bite. You’re also passing on the bacteria that could cause cavities in your little one’s mouth.
- CLEAN PACIFIERS IN THE SINK, NOT YOUR MOUTH
Who isn’t guilty of this? Sometimes there’s not a sink around. Sometimes you simply don’t feel like taking the extra ten steps to rinse off the binky (which is perfectly understandable, given that you run around chasing little ones all day). Unfortunately, this is just one more thing you’ll have to add to your never ending things-to-do list. Keep an extra clean one on hand or rinse it off under warm, soapy water before passing it back to your child.
- DON’T SHARE TOOTHBRUSHES.
Everyone in the family should have their very own toothbrush (this could even be a selling point to encourage your toddler to brush their teeth!), and they should be changed every 3-4 months, or sooner if you’re an extreme brusher and fray the bristles earlier. Using someone else’s toothbrush completely negates all of the healthy benefits of brushing.
- KEEP A CLEAN MOUTH.
Take the time before your baby arrives to make sure your oral hygiene is in line. After all, it’ll be significantly harder to make it to the dentist once your little one makes their debut. Arguably the most important action you can take to make sure your child has good oral hygiene is to have good oral hygiene yourself. Make sure to brush and floss regularly. You’ll set a “contagious” good example, instead of spreading contagious bacteria.