New Babies & Toddlers

New Babies & Toddlers

Breast feeding
Breast or bottle feeding is an important part of a baby’s development. Not only does it help the bonding between the baby and his/her parents, but it also helps to strengthen their immune system and aids in the development on their facial structure.

Brushing
It is important to wipe your baby’s gums with a soft cloth after their milk feeds. This is because milk contains a sugary substance which can result in tooth decay of their teeth are exposed to it for an extended time. It is not recommended to put your baby to sleep by sucking on a milk bottle. Although babies do not have the dexterity or motor skills required to brush their teeth they should still be introduced to the tooth brush as early as possible.

As children often learn through imitation it is an idea to let them watch you brush your teeth. By 2-3 years old, many children are doing some basic brushing of their teeth themselves, namely the simple horizontal movements. As they get older they can learn the more difficult techniques.

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Teeth
Teething is often a frustrating time for both children and their parents. Teething can begin as early as 3 months and last until their 3rd birthday. In very rare cases children may even be born with a few teeth.

As the teeth emerge they begin to cut through the gums. This can be very uncomfortable for your child as their gums may swell which can lead to a higher than normal temperature. However, if symptoms seem particularly bad it is best to seek help from your doctor.

Teeth that don’t touch
If you notice that your children’s upper and lower teeth do not meet together this can be due to several reasons. Thumb or finger sucking, tongue placement and oral and object fixations can all contribute to this as well as the beginnings of orthodontic issues. There are solutions such as trainer exercise, myobracers and oral appliances that can help to treat this issue before it escalates.

Thumb suckers
As sucking is a natural reflex, many infants, children and, if the habit is left unchecked, adolescents and adults suck their fingers, thumbs or other objects. In its early stages, thumb sucking will often make children feel secure and happy and it can act as a calming technique in difficult situations.

However, when this thumb and finger sucking habit continues after the adult teeth have erupted, problems can develop relating to the teeth and jaw alignment. The severity of the problems will be determined by how intensely a child sucks on their thumbs.

In light of this, it is recommended that children should stop sucking their thumbs before their permanent front teeth erupts, usually between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Furthermore, it is a common misconception that pacifiers are a health substitute for thumb and finger sucking. In reality, a pacifier can contribute to and cause the same dental problems as a thumb or finger, however the frequency of their use is often more easily modified and controlled.

Below we have included some helpful tips to stop your children sucking their thumbs:
• Don’t punish your child for sucking their thumb; rather, praise them for not doing it.
• Often thumb and finger sucking is a result for feeling insecure. If parents can focus on correcting the issues making the child insecure, then often the thumb and finger sucking will cease.
• Many children suck their thumbs for comfort. Parents can replace this comfort with another form of comfort such as themselves or even a toy.
• Reward children for not sucking their thumb, potentially with a star chart or treat.