Dental Care for Babies: Give Your Child a Lifetime of Smiles
Your children are precious, and so are their constantly evolving smiles. Proper oral care begins even before you see that first tooth emerge. It is important to know how to properly take care of your child’s smile at every age – from brushing your toddler’s teeth to eating for better oral health. As children grow from toddlers to teens, their dental care needs continue to evolve. Between contact sports and sugar-laden sweets and sodas, it is important to know how can you protect their teeth and preserve their smiles.
Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child to the dentist before his or her first birthday. At your child’s first dental visit, your dentist will:
- Check your child’s teeth for decay and signs of early developmental problems
- Explain how to care for your child’s teeth
- Answer any questions or concerns you might have
At the office of Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler we take it at a pace that will work well for your child. The first visit is normally just an exam by the Doctor. Once you child is age 2-3 years old we will start professional cleaning appointments with our hygienist.
How do I Begin Care for my Child’s Teeth?
Putting your baby to sleep with a bottle in his or her mouth may be convenient in the short term, but it can harm the baby’s teeth immensely. When the sugars from juice or milk remain on a baby’s teeth for hours, they may eat away at the enamel, creating a condition known as “bottle mouth”, which is associated with pocketed, pitted or discolored front teeth. Parents and childcare providers should help young children develop set times for drinking during the day, as well, because drinking from a bottle throughout the day can be equally as damaging to young teeth.
Cleaning a child’s teeth should begin when the first tooth is visible because teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. Wipe your baby’s teeth and gums clean after every feeding with a soft, damp washcloth or gauze pad. A leading cause of tooth decay among young children is known as “baby bottle syndrome,” which is when an infant is allowed to drink from a nursing bottle containing milk, formula or fruit juice during nap time or at night and the baby falls asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth. Prolonged exposure to the sugars and acids in liquids that pool around the teeth can cause discoloration and decay in teeth. Even babies can have problems with dental decay when parents do not practice good feeding habits at home.
It is vital to maintain proper dental hygiene for your child from the day he or she is born because it will set the groundwork for appropriate oral health. Visit Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler for more advice and for regular dental checkups. It is never too soon to protect your child’s teeth! Call us today to ensure your child is getting the best care possible.