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Dental Care

Allison Hutton

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Many parents don't realize that good dental care for babies begins long before those first teeth pop through. There are several tips to follow, to ensure your little one's pearly whites are healthy from the beginning.

First, and most important, never put baby to bed with a bottle. Not only does it present a choking hazard, but also promotes tooth decay (even if there aren't any teeth present!). Thomas Whalen, M.D., of Centerville Clinics in Pennsylvania, offers this advice, "Putting baby to bed with a bottle may make things easier for mom and dad, but the sugars found in formula, milk and juices can pool around baby's gums, causing irritation and decay."

To keep baby's gums healthy, simply wipe them daily with a sterile gauze pad. Once your baby is around the age of 18 months, be sure to get her into the routine of brushing her teeth. Toddler-sized toothbrushes are readily available, as is specially formulated (and tasty) toothpaste for small children.

Allow your child to watch you brush your teeth, and chances are she'll be eager to imitate you. Dr. Whalen also suggests vitamin supplements that include fluoride, for those children drinking water from a well, which doesn't have fluoride added. Once your baby hits the age of two, it's a good idea to get her to a dentist; ensuring the best start for a healthy smile.

Allison is a contributing editor for Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101. Visit her webpage at http://www.geocities.com/allies_girl/


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