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Dental Care for Your Baby

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Congratulations on your baby! Parents can introduce proper oral care starting in infancy.

Cleaning Your Baby’s Mouth

A good oral hygiene routine includes gently cleaning your baby’s gum after each feeding with a water-soaked cloth or gauze, stimulating the gum tissue and removing any food. This is a good foundation for building daily oral care habits. After their first tooth comes in, you can use a soft bristled child’s toothbrush with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste - take turns with your child holding the toothbrush. Brush at least once a day, especially at bedtime, to remove plaque that can lead to decay.

Teething

The first tooth typically arrives between 6-12 months. The lower central teeth arrive first, followed by the upper central teeth. Gums are sore, tender, and can be irritable until age 3, when all baby teeth typically arrive. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold wet cloth can help soothe gums. Teething rings also work well, but avoid teething biscuits as they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.

While your baby is teething, monitor their mouth to find any signs of decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside, looking for any dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface). It is also best to avoid giving your baby milk as they go to bed. The sugar found in milk mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth’s enamel. When a baby is awake, saliva carries away the liquid, but during sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases, and liquid forms around the child’s teeth for longer periods of time.

Infant’s New Teeth

Baby teeth (primary teeth) play a crucial role in dental development. Children’s teeth actually begin forming before birth. As they come in, a child learns how to chew properly and speak more clearly. They are also vital to the development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent teeth (secondary teeth) into place. Permanent teeth replace baby teeth around age 6. Sometimes infants are missing primary teeth. Since primary teeth guide permanent teeth into place, infants who prematurely lose their primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. This is to help teeth align properly and for permanent teeth to come in straight. 

A Child’s First Dental Visit 

A child’s first visit to the dentist should be around his or her first birthday. This visit is mainly for your child to become familiar and comfortable with our dentist and staff. A pleasant, enjoyable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. Parents are welcome to join their child, and the child may even sit in the parent’s lap during the exam.