Protecting Your Baby’s Oral Health
It is our goal to educate our patients on doing everything possible to maintain your baby’s oral health. We believe strongly in taking care of your children and their oral health needs from the very beginning, heading off any potential problems before they occur. Start things outright to protect your baby’s oral health.
Many people do not realize that teeth are forming in the womb. Teeth are actually being formed in the second trimester of the pregnancy. When your baby is born, the baby will have 20 primary teeth and some of those teeth will be completely developed in the jaw. So it is important to start oral care right away. You will want to run a damp cloth over your baby’s gums after feedings to eliminate harmful bacteria.
These teeth will not actually start to erupt until approximately the fourth month of your baby’s life. This time frame will vary from person to person, but when the first tooth does erupt, this is the ideal time to bring your baby to the dentist for their first visit.
Once the first tooth erupts, you will want to keep the first tooth and all subsequent teeth clean and free from bacteria. At first, it is OK to continue with a soft damp cloth after every feeding. With the second tooth, begin to gently brush their teeth with a soft baby toothbrush. You will want to use just a very tiny amount of toothpaste until the child is about 2. By the time a child reaches their 2nd birthday, they are usually able to spit and rinse but do not let them use more than a pea size amount of toothpaste.
Until your baby is able to spit out the toothpaste, we would suggest using a non-fluoride cleaner such as Baby Orajel Tooth and Gum Cleanser.
Flossing should begin as soon as two teeth touch each other. You should promote flossing for your child and help them do it. A child could be 7 or 8 before they can effectively floss on their own.
It is important to know that babies can develop tooth decay. So keeping your baby’s mouth free of bacteria is critical and good feeding habits are essential. Sugars found in milk and juices can be very harmful to baby teeth. You should never put your baby down to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice. When these sugars are allowed to remain on a baby’s teeth they start to eat away at the new enamel. Use water instead. These are all good practices for maintaining your baby’s oral health.
By the age of 6 months, children begin the need for a fluoride supplement. Some filtered water systems and most bottled waters will not contain fluoride so your baby may not be getting enough fluoride to maintain healthy teeth. If you have a concern that your baby may not be getting enough fluoride, we can help with a fluoride supplement.
Sealants are an excellent way to protect your school-aged children, after age 6, from plaque and harmful bacteria. A sealant is a plastic substance that is applied to the teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier and protects the grooves and pits of molar teeth that can be difficult to clean. These molars are prone to developing cavities and sealants do an excellent job of protecting them.
Teach your children good oral health habits and see us on a regular basis and you will give your child the gift of a beautiful smile.