If you are trying to protect the future of your little one's oral health, there are many different things you can do while the child is still a toddler. Here are a few of them:
Don't allow your child to sleep with a bottle.
Some parents allow their children to drink from a bottle as they rest. Sucking a bottle may soothe a youngster, but based on the contents of the bottle, it could also result in tooth decay.
A severe form of tooth decay that affects babies and toddlers is called baby bottle decay. Sugar from milk, juice and other bottle contents serve as food for bacteria in your little one's mouth. The bacteria, in turn, release decay-producing acid as a digestive byproduct.
When a child rests, the little one's swallowing reflexes relax, and the child produces little saliva. As a result, the contents of a bottle can pool in the oral cavity, bathing your child's teeth and gums in the fluid.
Help your child overcome thumb sucking.
As your youngster sucks his or her thumb, he or she can progressively alter the structure of the upper palate and the alignment of the teeth. The thumb is forced against the roof of the mouth as the child sucks. This can eventually lead to the top two front teeth being repositioned into a bucked alignment. The lower center teeth may recede from the force. Eventually, your child may develop an open bite in which the center front teeth of the upper and lower palate do not meet.
Also, the sucking may distort the upper palate, narrowing the palates. As a result, the side teeth of the top and bottom palates may not meet when the child closes his or her mouth. The resulting condition is a crossbite.
In order for the child to avoid future orthodontic problems, the youngster should stop sucking his or her thumb before any permanent teeth present. Since a thumb cannot be discarded like a pacifier, helping your child overcome thumb sucking may not be easy. Here are a few suggestions to make the process easier:
- Apply an over-the-counter bitter solution to your child's thumb.
- Give your child a sugar-free treat that will occupy his or her mouth in place of the thumb.
- Offer encouraging praise whenever your child successfully avoids sucking the thumb.
To learn more ways to protect your child's oral health as the little grows, consult with a dentist like Edens Greg DMD in your area.