Remember that baby milk teeth are helping creating healthy tissue and space for the permanent teeth to grow. If your child loses milk teeth too early because of dental decay and infections, the permanent teeth will not grow properly and dental braces treatment might be needed to correct this problem.
The milk teeth are more susceptible to dental decay than permanent teeth because they have a very thin enamel layer. Therefore, baby teeth require proper hygiene in order to keep them healthy and strong until they will fall out to make room for the permanent teeth.
Latest Government survey points out that well over 40% of children under 5 years old struggle with some form of dental decay. Of these, about 12% already have one or more cavity fillings. Never ignore the first signs of dental pain, discomfort or decay. Take your little one to regular dental visits, and make sure he/she brushes the teeth at least twice a day, for at least three minutes each time.
Spokeswoman for the British Dental Association, Dr. Janet Clarke advises parents to start brushing the teeth of their children as soon as the first tooth erupts. Make sure to buy special baby toothpaste, because this does not cause any harm even if ingested. Use a very small amount of the product on your little finger, and gently massage the gums and the tooth/teeth.
As you can notice more teeth emerging, you can start using a soft bristled toothbrush for children (ADA about toothbrushes). This way, you will teach your little one healthy dental hygiene habits from a very early stage in life.
For children under 3 years old, make sure to choose toothpaste that contains at last 1,000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. Any smaller amount than this is not efficient in the fight against tooth decay. If you are not sure which toothpaste to buy, or the most age appropriate just ask at the pharmacy.
For children over three years old, you can use toothpaste containing 1,350 to 1,500 parts per million fluoride. Also, experts recommend that children should not use the bottle anymore after their first year. However, if your little one is used to having a drink of milk at bedtime, make sure to clean the teeth after drinking. You should also not allow the child to have the bottle overnight.
Avoid as much as possible sugary drinks as well as sticky sweets which are harmful for the teeth. Give your little one healthy snacks instead, and get him/her into the habit of drinking plenty of water to keep away food particles from accumulating into the mouth.