Becoming a new mother or father is filled with amazing experiences and challenges alike, including numerous care areas to consider for your child. One area to ensure you don’t forget about is oral care, which quickly becomes important for infants even before their first teeth have grown in.
At Walker Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help with all infant oral care, including several preventive services that get them on the right track to a mouth-healthy life. Let’s go over some of the care areas you should prioritize even before teeth have begun to show, plus some tips from our children’s dentist on a few basic habits to really play up during this period.
Even before your child has any teeth, it’s important to begin cleaning their mouth from literally the day they’re born. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using an infant toothbrush or a soft cloth and cool water to clean baby gums after each nursing session, or after each meal once they move on to specific food. Gums should continue to be cleaned daily even after teeth begin erupting in.
In our next sections, we’ll go over a few basic habits to stick to during infancy:
Many babies have trouble calming down and relaxing before bed, and some parents respond to this by sending them to bed with their bottle. The bottle is one item that tends to calm most babies down pretty reliably, so parents naturally look to it as a solution.
However, we do not recommend this practice for babies or children of any age. The bottle is great in the right doses, but it does contain high amounts of sugar and can pose a much higher risk than normal for cavities if it’s left with the child all night. This condition even has a term – “baby bottle tooth decay” is something that’s easily stopped by simply avoiding this practice and finding other ways to calm your child before bed.
Now, that’s not to say it’s not okay to give your child any drink before bed. If they’re thirsty, it’s totally fine to give them something like water or watered-down juice. If they absolutely will not sleep without a bottle, simply fill it with water so they have that comfort device present without all the added sugar.
With so much going on in the child’s life, some parents put off seeing a pediatric dentist for far too long. The AAPD recommends that this is done as soon as the first tooth emerges, which is usually around six months of age, plus that it continues roughly every six months from here.
For more on caring for infant teeth, or to learn about any of our child dentist services, speak to the staff at Walker Pediatric Dentistry today.