We all know dental care is important for kids as well as for adults. Babies don’t always come to mind when we think of oral health, as they still don’t have teeth. However, dentists suggest that teeth and gum care should be given even before the first baby tooth appears. Keep in mind that baby teeth hold spaces open for the permanent ones to come in.
According to the US National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children aged 2 to 11 have had dental caries in their primary teeth.
You should start cleaning your baby’s gums soon after birth. Your infant will get used to having the mouth cleaned in no time. Even though their first set of teeth will be around for a short time, their health is essential to the future permanent ones.
In this article we’ll give you some tips on how to care for your infant’s oral health:
Creating a daily habit of taking care of your child’s mouth at these early stages of their lives will increase the chances that you and then your child will continue this healthy practice once teeth appear.
You need to clean your child’s mouth and gums before the first teeth come in, as we already mentioned. The gums should be wiped off with a wet, warm washcloth simply wrapped around your finger. There are also thimble-like, soft rubbery devices that fit over your index finger you can find on the market. They’re good for ribbing off any excess food.
Once the first teeth begin coming out, taking care of them right away is essential. A common belief is that baby teeth aren’t important since they are only temporary. However, they also help babies chew and talk, as well as preserve spaces for permanent ones.
If you don’t take proper care of these fist teeth, they can decay. This could lead to a gum infection (gingivitis), which can affect the spacing of permanent teeth.
Watch out for discoloration and minor pitting as these could be the first signs of cavities. Putting a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice is notorious for causing cavities. It’s important to not leave your infant with a bottle for a long period of time, especially if their not drinking anymore and are just using it for comfort.
Fluoride is important for preventing tooth decay. Since your baby shouldn’t use fluoride toothpaste, you have to make sure it gets enough, from simply drinking some tap water. Many communal water suppliers have added it for this beneficial purpose.
If you don’t want to give your child tap water or they refuse to drink it, you can ask your dentist for any fluoride supplements infants can take when they’re 6 or older.
When your baby’s teeth have grown in, it’s time to start brushing. Use the smallest amount of fluoride toothpaste (rice size is best) and brush your child’s teeth twice a day, to keep them clean from any leftover food particles and also keep gums safe.
It’s important to understand the need for preventative dentistry in the first years of your children’s’ lives. It can save you many concerns, toothaches, and dental complications. If you’re looking for a dentist in Albuquerque who can help you maintain good oral health for your child, you’re at the right place.
Services like dental sealants, for instance, are a great way to protect your child’s teeth from decay before, as they are most prone to it.
For the very first teeth that usually show up around the 6th month of age, you can use the specifically designed toothbrush for babies that we already mentioned above. Later, when they start using toothpaste you’ll need to choose a brush with a small head and very soft bristles, to avoid damaging the sensitive gums.
You do your child’s teeth brushing before he or she is completely able to properly brush themselves. Until they learn not to swallow toothpaste, you should consider using a fluoride-free one. Fluoride might be an essential supplement, but it’s not recommended to swallow it as toothpaste as it might be higher in content.
Establishing a “dental home” as soon as the first tooth appears is essential for children later on oral health habits. It’s a practice of getting your child familiar with kid dentistry and creating a relationship with your dentist. A dental home is also important for the future habits of kids as dentists wouldn’t be that frightening if they get used to the dental checkups at an early age.
Your child’s first dental exam should happen earlier than you probably think. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that kids should take their first dental exam when their very first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday.
After that is done the regular dental checkups should come up as it follows (twice a year).
Infants’ oral care lays the foundation of a lifelong habit of good oral hygiene. We’ve listed some essential tips to take care of it, but if you still face any problems with your baby’s teeth hygiene routine the professionals at Gallegos Family Dentistry are here for you.
With his experience in kids dentistry, Dr. Gallegos is the perfect dentist to take care of your child’s oral health from their very first dental exam.