Did you know tooth decay can start as soon as your baby’s first tooth starts to come through? That’s why it’s really important that you take a little trip to the dentist as early as possible, even before teeth come through, and you ensure weaning is done safely and with oral health in mind.
Caring for your baby’s teeth and transitioning to solid foods are closely linked , as the types of food you introduce your baby to early on can affect the foods they prefer later in life. One of the most important things to remember is that babies don’t need salt or sugar added to their food. Salty foods aren’t good for their kidneys and sugar can cause tooth decay. If a baby gets too used to sweeter tastes, it could be harder to get them to eat other flavours.
To begin with, babies should be introduced to single vegetables and fruits. Where your baby might be struggling with sour or plain flavours, you could try mixing in a small amount of sweeter fruit, such as a banana, to help make it more palatable.
An open or free-flow cup should also be introduced at the earliest opportunity, as drinking through a teat means liquid flows more slowly and is in contact with teeth for longer – plus the muscles developed during sipping are the same ones used for talking.
Taking a little trip to the dentist, even before their teeth come through, is also vital in developing positive oral health routines and protecting against decay. Make sure you get registered as soon as possible and visit regularly – your dentist can also give you more useful advice on teething, weaning, toothbrushing and more.
You can find a local NHS practice by visiting www.nhs.uk.
For more information on weaning, take a look at Start4Life on the NHS website.