Pacifiers and Thumb sucking
“It is normal for babies to suck because it helps them relax. By the time your child is two or three years of age, he or she has less need to suck. If your child still likes to suck, a soother is better than sucking a thumb. Why? Because you can control when and how your child uses a soother. You can’t control a thumb going into the mouth.
Never put sugar, honey or corn syrup on a soother. They can cause cavities. It’s best to get your child to stop sucking before permanent teeth come in, at about age five. If a child keeps sucking a soother or thumb after the permanent teeth have come in, it could cause problems with how the jaw and teeth grow.
Early Childhood Tooth Decay
“Once your child has teeth, he is susceptible to tooth decay. Mother’s milk, formula, cow’s milk and fruit juice all contain sugars. Babies may get early childhood tooth decay from going to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice.
Unrestricted at-will breast-feeding at night may increase the risk of tooth decay, although the majority of breast-fed children do not experience this early childhood disease. It can happen to children up to age four. Once your child has teeth, lift his or her lips once a month and check the teeth. Look for dull white spots or lines on the teeth. These may be on the necks of the teeth next to the gums. Dark teeth are also a sign of tooth decay. If you see any signs, go to the dentist right away.
Early childhood tooth decay must be treated quickly. If not, your child may have pain and infection. If you give your child a bottle of milk, formula or juice at bedtime, stopping all at once will not be easy.
Here are some tips:
- Put plain water in the bottle.
- If this is turned down, give your child a clean soother, a stuffed toy or a blanket.
- If your child cries, do not give up. • Comfort him or her, and try again.
- If this does not work, try watering down your child’s bottle over a week or two, until there is only plain water left.”