Infant Dental Care
Congratulations on the arrival of your new baby! As your baby grows, they will achieve a variety of incredible milestones. One of these milestones is the eruption of their baby teeth. These teeth help to give your baby their adorable little grin. They are also incredibly important. Taking care of their little teeth is essential for the health and development of their mouth. Portland Children's Dentistry can help.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
The baby teeth are only temporary, but they are still incredibly important. They enable your child to eat a wide variety of different foods. The teeth help your baby transition from breastmilk or formula to solid foods. As they get older, the teeth also help them to explore a variety of different textures and tastes.
The baby teeth are important for speech. As your child learns how to talk, the teeth aid in helping to develop proper speech patterns. They are also essential for the growth and development of the mouth. The baby teeth act as space holders for the adult teeth developing below the gum line. They also help the adult teeth to erupt properly.
Caring for Gums
Even before your baby gets their first tooth, dental care is important. Beginning when your baby is just a few weeks old, you can use a damp washcloth to gently wipe their gums after each feeding. Doing so helps to eliminate lingering sugars in the mouth as well as any harmful oral bacteria. At the same time, wiping the gums helps to get your baby used to the idea of dental care.
The Appearance of the First Tooth
The first baby tooth typically appears around the age of 6 months. Some babies get their first tooth earlier. Some may not get their first tooth until after their first birthday. When the first tooth appears, it is time to start using a toothbrush. Use a toothbrush designed for babies. These types of toothbrushes typically have small heads, which are more comfortable for small mouths. Make sure that you also choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
With just the first tooth, toothpaste is not necessary. Just wet the bristles and gently brush the tooth and gums. As your baby gets more teeth, toothpaste can be added. Over the age of 6 months, use a rice-sized amount of fluoride-free toothpaste. Make sure to brush their teeth twice a day.
How to Avoid Cavities
Cavities are one of the most common dental issues and can affect anyone, including babies and toddlers. There are a few things that you can do, however, in addition to brushing that can help to reduce the risk.
First, avoid giving your child sweetened liquids, such as soda and flavored beverages, as well as sugary snacks. There are sugars present in breastmilk, formula, milk, and juice, so regular brushing is important. It is also important that you do not give your baby a bottle of formula, milk, or juice when they go to bed. If your child needs a bottle to fall asleep, and they are over the age of 6 months, you can provide them with water.
When Should My Child Have Their First Appointment?
It is recommended by the AAPD that children be seen for their very first dental appointment 6 months following the eruption of their first baby tooth or by their first birthday, whichever one occurs first. These early dental appointments are essential for helping your child grow accustomed to the dental office. Also, issues can develop in the smallest teeth. With early dental visits, we can help to detect issues early on, which helps to avoid serious problems.
Helping Your Child Develop Good Oral Care Habits
Helping your child to develop good oral care habits is necessary for helping them to maintain a healthy mouth for their whole life. You can help to foster good habits by modeling them. Let your child see you brush and floss your teeth. Brush with your child. Most children cannot properly brush their teeth until the age of 6 or 7, so you will have to help them to ensure their teeth are thoroughly cleaned.
Dental care starts early, before the eruption of the first baby tooth. Starting good dental care habits early helps to set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health. For more information, call Portland Children's Dentistry at (503) 477-7130 today.