Early Infant Oral Care

More topics on Pediatric Dentistry

 

Even though most babies don’t start getting teeth until they are six months old, it’s still important to start practicing infant dental care as soon as possible. We recommend their first visit around their first birthday in order to ensure that their teeth and gums are properly cleaned and cared for.
Try to get in the habit of cleaning your child’s gums soon after birth. They might be a little fussy at first, but they will soon get used to having their mouth cleaned. Many children even grow to enjoy tooth brushing as part of their daily routine.

During your baby’s first year, it’s important to be aware of a few conditions. These conditions include teething, pacifiers, and baby bottle tooth decay.

Teething

Between 3 and 9 months, your infant’s baby teeth will begin to grow in. This process is called teething. Teething may cause your child to become irritable or fussy. You may also a notice an increase in restlessness, drooling, and loss of appetite.

You can help ease your child’s teeth discomfort by:

  • Rubbing their gums to apply pressure
  • Giving them a cold teething ring to chew on

Pacifiers

Sucking on pacifiers is a normal part of development and is comforting to children well into their first years of life. During a child’s first few years, sucking habits probably won’t damage their mouth. However, frequent and long-term pacifier usage can cause problems. If your child uses a pacifier, make sure it is always used safely.

Try to choose a pacifier that:

  • Is one piece rather than multiple parts
  • Has ventilating holes on the sides
  • Is large enough that your infant can’t swallow it
  • Has a handle that’s easy to grasp
  • Is made of a nontoxic, flexible material
  • Always check the pacifier for rips or tears before giving it to your infant

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

One of the most important issues in infant dental care is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent exposure, over time, to sugary liquids that can seriously damage a baby’s teeth and overall oral health. To avoid tooth decay, never let your infant sleep with a bottle in their mouth. If your child needs something to suck on to fall asleep, give them a pacifier or a bottle filled with water.

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