Infant Oral Care
Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! Are you prepared for the arrival of your baby's first tooth? Follow these guidelines and your baby will be on her way to a lifetime of healthy smiles!
Caring for Gums
Even before your baby's first tooth appears or erupts, the gums can benefit from your careful attention. After breast-or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth and gently rub it across your baby's gum tissue. This practice both clears your little one's mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process of building a good habit of daily oral care.
Baby's First Tooth
When that first tooth makes an entrance, it's time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. There are usually two options: a long-handled toothbrush that you can hold or a finger-puppet-like brush that fits over the tip of your index finger. These have bristles that are soft and few. At this stage, toothpaste isn't necessary; just dip the brush in water before brushing. If your baby doesn't react well to the introduction of a toothbrush, don't give up. Gently persist. Usually after a few weeks the child will learn to tolerate the tooth brush. Also, during the teething process your child will drool and want to chew on just about anything. A baby toothbrush with a teether or a soft rubber toy may become a favorite toy during this period.
Brushing with Toothpaste
When a few more teeth appear, you can start using toothpaste with your child's brush. However, for the first three years, choose toothpaste that does not contain fluoride because ingesting too much fluoride can be dangerous for youngsters. At this stage, use only a tiny amount of toothpaste. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing to prepare for fluoride toothpaste, which should not be swallowed at any age.
Don't give your baby any sort of sweetened liquids such as flavored drinks or soda. Even the sugars present in fruit juice, formula, and milk can cause decay, so regular tooth and gum cleaning is vital. It is especially important that the baby never goes to bed with a bottle. Liquids that contain sugar, in prolonged contact with the teeth, will cause early-childhood decay, also called baby-bottle caries.
First Visit to the Dentist
It's recommended that you bring your baby in for a visit within six months of the first tooth's eruption — usually around the first birthday. Since decay can occur in even the smallest of teeth, the earlier your baby visits us, the more likely that problems can be avoided. We'll look for any signs of early problems with your baby's oral heath, and check in with you about the best way to care for her teeth. Remember that preparing for each dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular check-ups..
Setting a Good Example
As part of the natural learning process, children are expert mimics. You can take advantage of this talent by brushing and flossing daily while your child is watching. Children learn at an early age the importance of good habits. As soon as your child shows interest, give the child a toothbrush and encourage "brushing” with you. (Toothbrushes with chunky, short handles are easiest for toddlers to grip). Most children don’t have the dexterity necessary to thoroughly clean their own teeth until they’re about seven or eight years old. Therefore, you’ll have brush for your child. Try different tactics to make brushing fun: flavored toothpaste, a toothbrush with a favorite character on it, and singing songs about brushing. The primary goal is to instill healthy oral habits at an early age to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy, cavity-free teeth!
Your childs teeth matter, schedule your first appointment with Dr. Wilson your experienced Ann Arbor MI Pediatric Dentist today!