Baby Teeth Bargains

How to start a lifetime of good dental habits.

  from Penny Pincher's Almanac

For a long time it was thought that the health of baby teeth didn’t matter; only healthy permanent teeth mattered. Wrong! Putting a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or formula or, even worse, juice can lead to tooth decay in infants! That practice can affect the way the child learns to eat or can lead to later dental problems. If a baby must have a bottle while in bed, give him or her water.

Gently clean your baby’s gums and early teeth with a damp washcloth. As your child grows, buy a soft-bristled toothbrush and child-safe toothpaste and teach your youngster how to use the brush properly.

At about age 3, your child can start flossing and brushing alone. (You may have to help for a while.)

Start taking your child to a dentist at about age 2. Look for someone with a family practice or see a pediatric dentist so that the experience is pleasant. The habits you instill in your tiny children will, hopefully, stay with them for the rest of their lives.