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Parents should clean babies gums BEFORE they get teeth to prevent dental decay, say experts

This article caught my eye earlier today from the "Daily Mail Online" and I thought it might be of interest to our expectant or new mums out there.

Whilst it appears these findings from across the water are in the early stages there is no harm in making sure your babies gums are  clean and free from as much sugar as possible. We may as well start them young to get them into good habits of brushing & flossing and help them keep their teeth & smile for life!

Scientists are urging parents to start caring for their gums much earlier, after finding hundreds of species of bacteria in the mouths of infants. The study from the University of Illinois focused on babies who didn't yet have any teeth, compared to most studies that looked at older children who already had dental cavities.

The team, led by Professor Kelly Swanson, used DNA technology to examine the whole population of bacteria in their mouths. They found it was far more diverse that suspected, making cavities more likely.

Like many other diseases, dental cavities are a result of many bacteria in a community, not just one pathogen, Prof Swanson said.

He added: We now recognise that the window of infectivity, which was thought to occur between 19 and 33 months of age years ago, really occurs at a much younger age.

Janet Clarke, a spokesperson for the British Dental Association, said: "The research looks interesting but further investigation is necessary to ascertain the significance of these findings."

The important issue for parents to remember is to minimise their baby's exposure to sugary foods and drinks from the time they are weaned on to solids.

Ideally, it is best to avoid adding sugar to bottle feeds or drinks, however, the real danger to teeth arises from prolonged or frequent contact with sugar so sipping on sugary feeds or drinks for hours, or overnight, is a definite no-no.

Having a drink of juice from a cup in one sitting is better than sucking it over several hours from a bottle or carton because the mouth releases acid that causes decay for about 20 minutes after each sugar-eating episode.

Thanks to the Mail Online for this article.

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