INFANT DENTAL CARE
GOOD DENTAL HEALTH FROM THE BEGINNING
All infants benefit from daily oral cleanings and good oral hygiene habits can begin as soon as baby is born. Pediatricians and pediatric dentists agree that using a clean, damp cloth or soft gauze to gently wipe your baby’s gums twice a day is an ideal way to start good oral hygiene habits. Removing any lingering milk or formula will help prevent bacteria buildup.
Babies usually begin teething around 4 to 6 months. However, it can be a year before the first tooth erupts. The teething process can take start several weeks before you see a tooth bud. It is normal for babies to be fussy or cranky as teeth begin to move through the gums. Symptoms of teething include:
- Swollen, tender gums
- Babies will want to chew on anything firm
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Increased drool
- Tugging or pulling on ears
To help soothe your baby during the teething process, we recommend:
- Refrigerating a teething ring or pacifier
- Offering cool water from a sippy cup
- Unsweetened teeth crackers
- Massaging gums with a cool washcloth
To self soothe, your baby may want to chew on his hands or your hands during teething. It is important to make sure that everything your baby puts in his mouth is clean and to wipe away excess drool from chin to prevent a rash.
As soon as the first tooth appears, you may switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush away and food particles or milk residue.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay, also known as early childhood dental caries, can occur if your baby falls asleep with a bottle of milk or juice either at naptime or nighttime. The sugar from milk or juice tends to collect in baby’s mouth and cause decay. The good news is that this is a totally preventable condition! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies do not take a bottle to bed. In general, it is a good idea to limit sugary foods and drinks to meal time.
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