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A Toothy Grin: Babies and Dental Hygiene...What Are The Rules?

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Happy, smiling children are what everyone wants and what most of us can't resist...and that's why, according to experts, dental health care is essential for EVERY child (and adult)...but an area of healthcare that often gets "neglected" or overlooked.

In fact, the "frightening" facts (in Arizona) show that 67% of third graders experience tooth decay. The facts also suggest that tooth decay is still among the most common (yet easily preventable) childhood diseases that, left unattended can lead to physical and psychological disabilities in kids.

Also, it has been shown that kids who frequently eat simple sugars are at higher risk for tooth decay. And....according to recent research tooth decay is actually on the rise among young children, despite and regardless of the recommendations made by the Surgeon General.

Professionals are calling parents to action and advise them to begin dental hygiene and care for their child as early as 4 to 24 months of age. Why? Because according to experts, proper oral care should begin before the first tooth sprouts....and is one area of healthy that although often "dismissed" is essential to the proper development of the child, especially in helping form good hygiene habits from the start.

They experts go on to say and suggest the following:

* Children ages 4-24 months should have regular visits to a pediatric dental professional by their first birthday to help determine the risks and dental development. They should also look into establishing proper bedtime habits, including brushing teeth and refraining from using feeding as a signal for bedtime, which can expose teeth to sugary drinks such as formula or juice. In addition, the experts stress that children should not be allowed to fall asleep with a bottle that holds anything but water.

* For babies without teeth (yet)...parents should take precautionary measures by gently wiping the little one's gums with a soft, clean cloth.

* Once baby's first tooth or teeth make way, parents should use a toothbrush specifically designed to brush a baby's gums and teeth.

Last but certainly not least, parents should set the standard and the example for hygiene and oral health care in the home....and that includes brushing after each meal and before bed and frequent dental visits and cleanings throughout the year.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > A Toothy Grin: Babies and Dental Hygiene...What Are The Rules?

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