Baby’s First Visit to the Dentist
Did you know that when a tooth first comes into the mouth is when it is most likely to get a cavity? For this reason and others, The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommend your infant see a dentist at about the age of one because there are prevention strategies that can be done to reduce the risk of your child getting a cavity.
There are important milestones in dental development to be aware of before your child visits the dentist. Some of the primary issues during this stage of development include:
Pregnancy | Teething | First Tooth Eruption | Early Oral Hygiene | First Dental Appointment
Pregnancy and Your Baby’s Dental Health
Teeth begin to develop in month three of your pregnancy. Teeth require the presence of certain minerals to become strong. Your diet is your baby’s diet so eat healthy yourself. In this way, your child will have a better chance of developing strong bones and teeth.
Also, be sure to practice good oral hygiene because the offspring of mothers who have low levels of cavity promoting bacteria have a better chance of not having cavities themselves. Also, the occurrence of ‘pregnancy gingivitis,’ a gum disease associated with the higher-than-normal levels of progesterone in their bodies, is prevented. Brush and floss at least two times per day.
Baby Teething and Preventing Infant Tooth Decay
Normally the first tooth erupts between ages six to twelve months. Gums are sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of three. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings can work well. While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side, every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay.
This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar, acids attack the teeth for about twenty minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.
Infant’s First Tooth Eruption
An infant’s first tooth normally erupts when she or he is around six to eight months old. We know it seems early, but a child’s first dental visit should occur six months after this first tooth appears. See Toddlers – Young Children Dental Care for more information on the importance of primary teeth.
Infant Oral Hygiene and Baby Dental Care
As soon as your child's first tooth erupts you should begin taking care of it. Brush your child's teeth gently with a smear size amount of fluoridated children's toothpaste on the toothbrush. Since a tooth is most likely to get a cavity when it first comes in, infants and young children will benefit from fluoride. As soon as your child has two teeth that are touching, begin flossing after brushing, gently removing plaque from the sides of the teeth where toothbrushes can't reach.
Proper Teeth and Mouth Development For Young Children and Toddlers
A child’s primary teeth not only allow for proper chewing and speaking, they are also vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent teeth into place around age six. Children with missing primary teeth or those who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. For this reason, bring your child to The Tooth Station when they are one-years-old.
Thumb-sucking / Pacifiers
Non-nutritive sucking such as thumb or pacifier use is a natural and healthy way for infants and young children to relax and calm themselves. Most children give up the practice before adverse effects occur in the teeth and bones. Prolonged non-nutritive sucking may produce disruption the proper development of mouth and teeth.
Pay attention to the alignment of your child’s teeth and if you notice movement or poor alignment, come see us so we can provide you with our professional assessment.
Toothpaste and Fluoride For Young Kids Dental Care
Parents ask us what kind of toddler toothpaste to choose, any fluoridated children’s toothpaste is good. Use a smear size amount of toothpaste on the brush and do not eat, drink or rinse afterwards but let stay on the teeth.
Using a smear size amount of fluoridated toothpaste will result in ingestion of approximately 1/10th of a mg of fluoride compared to 1/4th mg when drops or a tablet is used. Even though it is less fluoride then a drop or tablet would be, it is more effective because it is directly applied to the teeth.
Preventative Care / Healthy Habits
Tooth cavities among young children and toddlers are at an all-time high, so it is of the utmost importance to be aware of and proactive in your child’s developing teeth. Habits are hard to break so we help you create preventative dental health habits now so they will last a lifetime. Some of the ways we do that include:
- Information about kids healthy eating habits and a child’s diet for strong teeth and bones.
- Regular dentist check ups and teeth cleanings to detect potential kids' dental health issues.
- Kids dental sealants on especially grooved or pitted teeth.
- The most effective tooth brushing and flossing techniques for toddlers.
- Methods to encourage young children’s dental self-care.
Find Out More About The Tooth Station
We are the first stop on a lifelong journey of dental and whole body health. Contact our dentist office in Folsom or call today at 916-984-6747.