Did You Know that a Healthy Smile Begins at Birth?
Keeping a child’s gums and growing baby teeth healthy is extremely important and should not be overlooked. Baby teeth, though they eventually fall out, serve many purposes such as assisting children in chewing food, speaking clearly, and of course holding the spaces for their future adult teeth. By beginning to take good care of teeth at an early age, you will help your child develop a healthy smile for life!
Learning to Care for Your Child’s Teeth
A baby’s first tooth will erupt at around six months of age, sometimes even sooner. Some babies are even born with baby teeth! Most babies experience teething months before their teeth actually come in. You may see an excess of drooling, biting, and fussiness during this time but don’t worry it’s normal. Talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions about teething discomfort, do not give any medications unless instructed by your baby’s doctor.
You can start by gently wiping your newborn’s mouth twice a day with a soft washcloth and water. This will help your baby get used to the cleaning. Once the baby tooth comes in you can clean the tooth twice a day with a soft washcloth or a baby soft toothbrush. Teeth decay can happen as soon as the tooth erupts.
Providing your baby with a healthy diet low in sugar will increase the chances of developing a healthy smile and decrease the chances of decay and other illnesses.
To protect your baby’s smile, follow these tips:
- Avoid feeding your baby sticky foods that could linger.
- Bottles should only be used for breastmilk, formula, or water.
- Stop night feeding as soon as the first tooth comes in.
- Never put your baby to bed with an overnight bottle as the sugar in the formula or milk will cause teeth to decay
Fluoride helps protect teeth from decaying and is extremely important especially in a child as it will provide an extra shield on their teeth. Check with your doctor to find out if the community you live in provides fluorinated water. If water is not fluorinated, your pediatrician will recommend starting a fluoride supplementation.
First Dental Visit
To ensure they have a healthy smile, your child’s first dental visit should be scheduled by their first birthday. During this important first visit, the dentist will check your baby’s teeth and gums, teach you how to clean your baby’s teeth, and also provide preventative treatments to avoid decay.
Creating a Healthy Smile Starts Early
Your baby’s teeth are precious for their overall health. Good oral hygiene at an early stage in life will prevent your baby from having oral and other health problems. It’s never too early to see a dentist, so ask your pediatrician to refer your baby to one of our experienced on-staff dentists. Always remember a bright, healthy smile begins during the newborn period.