Experts say that a child needs his first dental exam no later than 2 years old. At the exam, the dentist can fill you in on many topics that will affect your child's oral health: baby bottle tooth decay, infant feeding practices, cleanings, teething, and pacifier and thumb-sucking habits. Baby bottle tooth decay is common when a child is given a sugary liquid at bedtime or before a nap. Giving a child milk, juice, or any other sweetened liquid is advised against by dentists. In terms of infant feeding practices, children should not have a bottle in their mouth for more than six minutes at a time. The longer a child keeps a bottle in their mouth, the greater the chances of having crooked teeth which can lead to expensive braces later down the road. Before teeth begin to sprout, it is recommended that a child's gums be cleaned with a damp cloth. After teeth begin to appear, a dentist can give you teething tips and instructions to properly clean your child's mouth. It is important to remember that good oral hygiene starts as early as infancy.
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