Mary Jane Miranda, DMD

“They’re baby teeth. They’re going to fall out anyway.”

I am willing to bet you’ve heard this statement before. Contrary to popular belief, baby teeth do matter. These primary teeth serve a number of purposes for children, including: aiding with proper chewing, speech development, building self esteem and saving space in the jaw for when permanent teeth erupt.

Caring for your children’s teeth should actually begin before the first tooth arrives. Here’s what you can do to ensure your children’s teeth are well cared for.

Wipe your baby’s mouth with a clean, damp washcloth after feeding. This will help prevent yeast infections in the mouth, while also helping him/her get used to cleaning the mouth.

If cleaning your baby’s pacifier, clean it with water, not in your own mouth, which can transmit bacteria in your mouth to you child.

If your baby sleeps with a bottle, fill it with plain water instead of milk or juice, which contain cavity causing sugar.

When the first tooth erupts, use a soft child sized toothbrush with water to help prevent early childhood cavities. Gently brush with a circular motion, focusing on the area where the tooth and gums meet.

Bring your child in for his or her first dentist appointment by their first birthday, to introduce them to the experience and so that any problems can be diagnosed early.