Infant Oral Health From Our Pediatric Dentist

Dental Care For Your Baby

Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! Are you prepared for the arrival of your baby's first tooth? The pediatric dentists at Weaver & Stratton know the importance of infant oral health. Healthy teeth start with infant oral health and proper teeth care. Follow these guidelines for infant oral health and your baby will be on their way to a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Caring for Gums

Infant oral health and care should start before your baby's first tooth appears (or, in dental jargon, "erupts"). Your child’s gums can benefit from your careful attention. After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze 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 and your baby can hold at the same time or a finger-puppet-like brush that fits over the tip of your pointer finger. In each case, the bristles are soft and few. At this stage of infant oral health, toothpaste isn't necessary; just dip the brush in water before brushing. If your little one doesn't react well to the introduction of a toothbrush, don't give up; switch back to a damp washcloth for a few months, then try the toothbrush again. During the teething process your child will want to chew on just about anything—a baby toothbrush with a teether can become a favorite toy during this period.

Brushing with Toothpaste

The second stage of infant oral health is when a few more teeth appear and you can start using toothpaste with your child's brush However, for the first two years, be sure to choose toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, unless advised to do so by your dentist, because too much fluoride can be dangerous for youngsters. At this infant oral health stage, use only a tiny amount of toothpaste. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing, to prepare them for fluoride toothpaste, which should not be swallowed at any age.

Avoiding Cavities

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 (this goes for breast milk as well) can cause decay, so regular tooth and gum cleaning is vital. Also, make sure your baby never goes to bed with a bottle — sugary liquids in prolonged contact with their teeth are a guarantee for early-childhood decay, also called baby-bottle caries.

First Visit to the Dentist

It is recommended that you bring your baby in for a pediatric dentist visit within six months of the first tooth's eruption — usually around their first birthday. Since decay can occur in even the smallest of teeth, the earlier your baby visits us, the more likely they are to avoid problems. We will 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 their teeth. Remember that preparing for each dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular checkups.

Infant Oral Health & Setting a Good Example

As part of the natural learning process, little ones are expert mimics, and you can take advantage of this talent. Brush and floss daily while your child is watching, and they will intuit at an early age the importance of your good teeth cleaning habits. As soon as your child shows interest, give them a toothbrush of their own and encourage them to "brush" with you. You will find that toothbrushes with chunky, short handles are easier for them to grip. Most children do not have the dexterity necessary to thoroughly clean their own teeth until they are between six and eight, so you will have to do that part of the job for them. Try different tactics to make brushing fun: flavored toothpaste, a toothbrush with a favorite character on it, and 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!

Weaver & Stratton is a kid's dentistry in St. Johns and Orange Park, and we strive to make your child's first visit to the dentist easy and enjoyable.

 

Infant Oral Health | Weaver & Stratton (904) 264-KIDS (5437)

Pediatric Dentist in Jacksonville and Orange Park, FL