Give your child a fine set of teeth for life – with proper dental care..
Milk teeth play a crucial role in determining how healthy your child’s permanent teeth will be. The first teeth act as place holders for their successors and therefore need just as much care as permanent teeth. The foundations for healthy teeth are already being laid when your child is breastfeeding. Your child learns the correct sucking motion (latch-on and swallow) when breastfeeding, which in turn prepares her jaw and oral cavity for their future functions: growing teeth, eating and speaking. For bottle-fed babies, the shape of the bottle’s teat is therefore extremely important. It should support natural jaw development and encourage your child to exert her tongue and mouth muscles in the same way that she would were she being breastfed.
The same also applies to soothers, of course. It makes a big difference whether your child uses her thumb or a corner of the bedspread to satisfy her innate need to suck. Particularly when her first teeth start to come through, a soother that supports natural jaw development is always the better alternative. We have all seen examples of protruding teeth, which can be the unfortunate result of prolonged thumb-sucking. But no need to fret: short-term thumb-sucking isn’t a problem, and most children should be able to manage without any form of soother from three years onwards.
It can be more dangerous for your child’s teeth if she constantly carries around and sucks on a feeding bottle. Fruit juice contains a lot of sugar and acid, which will then swill around, attack and rot your child’s teeth all day long, with no visible signs. It goes without saying that food and drinks that are sugar-free or at least low in sugar constitute the best form of protection against tooth decay – alongside adequate fluoride prophylaxis. And don’t forget about brushing your child’s teeth. Your child should learn to brush her teeth as soon as they start to come through – at least once a day until she is two and then every morning and evening thereafter. And always under your guidance.