Before Your Baby is Born
What you eat when you are pregnant is important. Eating rightwill help you and your growing baby stay healthy. Follow yourdoctor's advice for eating the right foods and taking vitamins.
It's also time to think about how you'll feed your baby.Remember, breast-feeding is best!
Ann Talks with Maria
"What are you doing?" asked Ann. Ann and her friend, Maria,were watching Maria's children play.
"I'm cleaning my baby's teeth," said Maria.
"But your baby hardly has any teeth!" said Ann.
"Yes, but my dentist said there are things I can do to keep mybaby from getting tooth decay," said Maria.
"But don't baby teeth just fall out?" asked Ann.
"Yes, but tooth decay can cause pain for the baby. And babyteeth hold space for adult teeth," said Maria.
"What else did the dentist say?" asked Ann.
"She told me how fluoride protects teeth. She also said to feedmy baby healthy foods and not to put my baby to bed with a bottle,"said Maria.
"When do you have to start taking care of a baby's teeth?" askedAnn.
"As soon as they come in. Teeth can decay as soon as they appearin the mouth," said Maria.
"I'll have to start thinking of those things soon!" laughedAnn.
1. Protect Your Baby's Teeth with Fluoride
Fluoride (said like floor-eyed ) protects teeth from toothdecay and helps heal early decay.
Fluoride is in the drinking water of many towns and cities.
Ask your dentist or doctor if your water has fluoride in it.If it doesn't, talk to your dentist or doctor about giving you aprescription for fluoride drops for your baby.
2. Check and Clean Your Baby's Teeth
- Check your baby's teeth
Healthy teeth should be all one color. If you see spots orstains on the teeth, take your baby to your dentist.
- Clean your baby's teeth
as soon as they come in with a clean, soft cloth or a baby'stoothbrush. Clean the teeth at least once a day. It's best to cleanthem right before bedtime.
At about age 2, most of your child's teeth will be in. Now youcan start brushing them with a small drop of fluoride toothpaste.Use a drop of toothpaste about as big as this --
Young children cannot get their teeth clean by themselves. Untilthey are 7 or 8 years old, you will need to help them brush. Trybrushing their teeth first and then letting them finish. And besure that you put the toothpaste on the brush----use only apea-sized amount of toothpaste.
3. Feed Your Baby Healthy Food
Choose foods that do not have a lot of sugar in them. Giveyour child fruits and vegetables instead of candy and cookies.
4. Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle at night or at naptime. (If you put your baby to bed with a bottle, fill it only withwater. )
Milk, formula, juices, and other sweet drinks such as soda allhave sugar in them. Sucking on a bottle filled with liquids thathave sugar in them can cause tooth decay. Decayed teeth can causepain and can cost a lot to fill.
During the day, do not give your baby a bottle filled with sweetdrinks to use like a pacifier.
If your baby uses a pacifier, do not dip it in anything sweetlike sugar or honey.
Near his first birthday, you should teach your child to drinkfrom a cup instead of a bottle.
5. Take Your Child to the Dentist
Ask your dentist when to bring your child in for his firstvisit. Usually, the dentist will want to see a child by his firstbirthday. At this first visit, your dentist can quickly check yourchild's teeth.