Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! Are you prepared for the arrival of your baby’s first tooth? Follow these guidelines and your son or daughter will be on the way to a lifetime of healthy smiles!
Caring for Gums
Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, the gums can benefit from your careful attention. After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This practice both clears your little one’s mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process for building good daily oral care habits.
Baby’s First Tooth
When that first tooth makes an entrance, it’s time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. There are usually two options: a long-handled toothbrush that you and your baby can hold at the same time. The bristles should be ultra soft.
Brushing with Toothpaste
When a few more teeth appear, you can start using toothpaste with your child’s brush. At this stage, use only a tiny amount of fluoridated toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice).
First Dental Visit
It’s recommended that you bring your baby in for a visit within six months of the first tooth’s eruption – usually around his or her first birthday. Since decay can occur in even the smallest of teeth, the earlier your baby visits us, the more likely he or she is to avoid problems. We’ll look for any signs of early problems with your baby’s oral heath, and check in with you about the best way to care for your little one's teeth. Remember that preparing for each dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular checkups.
Importance of Baby Teeth
Much like your own permanent teeth, your child’s primary teeth require professional and at-home dental care. Decay can happen at any age, so it’s time to visit Dr. Buzz within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing, and certainly by age one. In addition to checking for tooth decay and other pediatric dental problems, Dr. Buzz and his hygientists will show you the best ways to start your child on a lifetime of good oral health habits.
What happens if baby teeth aren’t taken care of?
Primary teeth can get cavities just like adult teeth. In addition to the pain caused by a cavity, young children can develop dental infections. Primary tooth decay is a serious, infectious, and transmissible disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection or abscess without proper precautions. This can be especially harmful to children because their immune systems aren’t fully developed.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
There are many risk factors when it comes to children’s tooth decay. A common cause is the frequent and prolonged exposure of your child’s teeth to sugary drinks, including milk, formula, and fruit juice. Giving your child a sugary drink at nap or night-time can be especially harmful, because the flow of saliva decreases during sleep. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar and produce acids that attack the teeth.
Tooth Decay Prevention
The good news about baby bottle tooth decay is that it’s preventable!
- Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding.
- Begin brushing your child’s teeth, without toothpaste, when the first tooth comes in.
- Clean and massage gums in areas without teeth.
- Place only formula, milk, or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling a bottle with liquids like sugar water, juice, or soft drinks.
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle that contains anything but water.
- Never dip a pacifier in anything sweet, like sugar water or honey.
According to the American Dental Association, most children stop thumb sucking on their own between the ages of two and four. They simply grow out of a habit that is no longer useful to them. However, some children continue sucking beyond the preschool years (although studies show that the older a child gets, the lower the chances are of continuing the habit). If your child is still thumb sucking when his or her permanent teeth start to erupt, it is time to take action to break the habit.
If the sucking is passive, with the thumb gently resting inside the mouth, it is less likely to cause damage. If, on the other hand, the thumb sucking is aggressive, placing pressure on the mouth or teeth, the habit may cause problems with tooth alignment and proper mouth growth. Extended sucking affects both the teeth and the shape of the face and may lead to a need for orthodontic treatment in the future.