Good oral hygiene begins before the first tooth appears. Your child’s primary (milk) and permanent teeth are important for chewing, speaking, and appearance. In addition, the primary teeth maintain space for the permanent teeth to come into the mouth. Since a healthy mouth contributes greatly to your child’s self-esteem, good oral health practices should begin in infancy and continue throughout life.
Parents are the most important role models a child can have for learning good oral health habits. Your child can enjoy a lifetime of beautiful smiles if you follow the simple steps below.

INFANCY (0 to one)

• Good oral health practices should begin when your child is an infant. As parents, we need to realize that a baby’s teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they appear in the mouth.

• Teething may make your baby’s gums sore and tender. If fever is present, consult your pediatrician.

• Milk tooth appears around six months of age till three years of age.

• Sucking is a natural reflex for babies however prolonged use of pacifiers and finger sucking can affect development of your child’s teeth.

• Clean your babies gums after feeding (even breast feeding) especially at night with damp cloth or cotton.

• Breast feeding should be done till about 9 months. Breastfeeding does not only have important nutritious, immune and emotional benefits for the baby. It also helps to develop a correct positioning of the dental arch.

• Wean your child from the bottle by the about 16 months.

• Clean the teeth with damp cloth or with a toothbrush after feeding the baby, failure in doing so leads to a serious problem known as BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY.

• Once the first tooth erupts, begin using a small, soft-bristle toothbrush to clean your child’s teeth. Toothpaste is not recommended for cleaning an infant’s teeth.

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