Below are some tips on good oral care for your child from the American Dental Association, plus information on thumbsucking and teething. Post these on your refrigerator or in another handy place so your family and babysitters can also see them:
- Infants should finish their bottle or breastfeeding before going to bed. Frequent and prolonged exposure of a baby’s teeth to liquids containing sugar, like sweetened water, fruit juice and potentially milk, breast milk and formula is a risk factor for early childhood caries, sometimes called baby bottle tooth decay.
- Do not dip pacifiers in sugar or honey.
- Wipe the baby’s gums with a wet gauze pad or with a washcloth or towel after each feeding.
- Begin brushing your child’s teeth with water as soon as the first tooth appears.
- To reduce the chances of tooth decay, children should be encouraged to drink from a cup by their first birthday.
- Your child’s first dental visit should occur within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the baby’s first birthday.
- Aggressive thumb sucking may cause problems with children’s primary (baby) teeth, so please mention to me on your next visit if your child has this habit. I can check his or her mouth for any changes and give you techniques to help curb thumbsucking.
- As baby teeth erupt, your child may become fussy, sleepless or irritable. One way to comfort your baby is to gently massage the gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a clean, wet gauze pad, washcloth or towel.
- Consult with your pediatrician, family physician or dentist on the most appropriate water to use in your area to mix with infant formula.
As always, we are here to answer your questions. Please feel free to call our office to schedule your first “well-baby” dental appointment.