The month of September is geared toward educating the public about best practices for keeping babies safe. Typically, National Baby Safety Month focuses on the proper use of car seats and pool gates, while highlighting common choking hazards. This year, First Things First wants to remind caregivers in Cochise County that babies’ mouths, teeth and gums should be protected from preventable mishaps as well.
“Children under the age of five are extremely vulnerable to accidents and injuries,” says Melissa Avant, regional director of the First Things First Cochise Region. “So, it’s important that caregivers take the necessary steps throughout the home to reduce all risks to little ones. This includes taking measures to prevent accidents pertaining to the mouth.”
It’s important that young children learn to sit still and stationary while eating and drinking. Running around and playing while eating can cause severe injuries or choking if a child trips while eating food or drinking through a straw.
Statistics show that 50 percent of children will have some form of an injury to a tooth during their childhood. Many of these injuries are preventable, yet injuries to the teeth and mouth can have long-lasting effects on the child’s appearance and self-esteem. It’s essential to keep an eye on children at all times and try to eliminate tripping hazards from the home. It may also be a good idea to purchase corner safety guards to the countertops, dressers and coffee tables. The cushioning can help soften the impact of a child falling headfirst into furniture and possibly prevent a chipped tooth or a busted lip.
Finally, during National Baby Safety Month, it’s worth noting the detriment of tooth decay to a baby’s mouth. Many factors contribute to tooth decay, also known as bottle rot, but usually it’s from prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. This can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, or even if a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby. The best tip for preventing bottle rot is not to let little ones fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup in their mouth.
For a lifetime of healthy oral hygiene habits, be sure to schedule a dentist appointment when your child’s first tooth appears, or by their first birthday.