4 Things That Can Damage Baby Teeth
Even though children will lose their baby teeth (or, primary teeth), those teeth are still important. Baby teeth help children talk, chew, and guide their permanent teeth. Problems with baby teeth, such as premature loss or cavities, can lead to problems with adult teeth.
Here’s how you can help prevent damage:
1.) Thumb sucking
Many babies find it soothing to suck on their fingers, thumbs or pacifiers. In general, this is ok until they start losing their baby teeth. Thumb or pacifier sucking can make permanent teeth come in crookedly and may even cause problems with bite alignment. To help your baby stop thumb sucking, you can:
Limit thumb sucking or pacifier use to bedtime and nap time only.
Give your child praise and encouragement for not sucking.
Talk to your dentist. They may have ideas to help your child stop.
2.) Drinking too much milk or juice
Baby teeth are just as susceptible to decay and erosion as adult teeth. Good oral hygiene and limiting sugar and acidic foods and drinks are important for keeping them healthy. Keep young children on a healthy, low-sugar diet.
3.) Not cleaning after eating or drinking
While it may be tempting to allow your baby to fall asleep while eating, always clean their mouth after they have anything to eat or drink. As with adult teeth, if you don’t clean the teeth and gums before bed, cavity-causing bacteria can damage teeth and gums.
4.) Chewing anything other than food
Chewing on toys, markers or any other non-food items can introduce bacteria into your baby’s mouth and also damage their tooth enamel and gums. Try to keep them from chewing on foreign objects and if they do chew on a toy, make sure it’s sanitized.