Infant Oral Health Care
Infant Oral Health Care Starts with Expectant Mothers
Your baby's teeth start developing during the second trimester of pregnancy. What you eat is important since it affects your unborn child and their teeth. Talk with your doctor about receiving enough nutrients for yourself and your baby. Make sure to eat a healthy balanced diet and limit snacking on sugary foods as this can still lead to decay.
Bacteria in a mother's mouth can be passed to the child. This is why maintaining oral health is extremely important before and during pregnancy. Inform your dentist if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon for proper oral health maintenance.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends establishing a "dental home" by one year of age. A dental home can be described as an ongoing relationship between dentist, patient, and family to deliver accessible, coordinated and comprehensive care. Establishing a dental home leads to appropriate preventive and routine oral health care that leads to a lifetime of good oral health.
During the first visit, we are dedicated to making your child have a positive experience, and we move at their pace. This means that a first visit may only be more of an introduction to the dental office – and that's ok! For babies we often will perform a lap-lap examination, followed by a fluoride varnish application and a discussion based on your child's specific needs. X-rays are sometimes recommended based on certain risk factors.
Your baby's teeth often start to erupt around 6 months of age. Some children start teething earlier and some later. There are a total of 20 primary teeth that will erupt.
Tips for Sore Gums
- Gently rub your child's gums with a clean wet towel or washcloth, your finger or cool teething rings
- Do not dip teething rings in sugar, syrup, honey or other foods
- Do not use topical anesthetics such as over-the-counter teething gels but instead use oral pain medicines that are age and weight appropriate
Cleaning Your Baby's Teeth
Even before your child's first tooth, get into the practice of cleaning your baby's mouth. After each feeding, wipe the gums and tongue with a clean, damp washcloth. Once the first tooth erupts you may start using an age appropriate toothbrush with a "smear" or grain-of-rice amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
Do not put your baby down for a nap or at night with a bottle or cup filled with anything but water. Any liquids containing sugars, even natural sugar, can lead to rapid and severe decay if your child is allowed continuous feeding. For nighttime breast feedings, make sure to wipe your child's mouth before putting them back to bed to prevent decay.