Baby teeth play a very important role in your child’s development; they help your child chew and speak, and they help hold the space for the permanent teeth as they are developing below the gums. These primary teeth are also important in promoting a healthy smile that helps children feel good about themselves. Babies are born with 20 partially formed baby teeth that start erupting around 6 months and continue until about 24-33 months, every baby is different in the eruption time and order, but most children will have all 20 baby teeth by age three.
It’s important to instill good oral habits in babies because the decay in primary teeth can mean a higher risk of decay in permanent teeth. Children are at a higher risk of decay because their teeth are exposed to sugars often or for longer periods of time due to breast feeding or bottle feeding and the frequency.
Read the following recommendations to help protect your babies teeth:
1) Protect your new babies gums and future teeth by wiping them daily with a damp cloth to remove any sugars that are left behind from breast milk or formula protecting them from future decay.
2) Once your baby has teeth – brush teeth 2 times a day with water and/or training toothpaste on a baby toothbrush. If baby shows interest let them practice too, even if they are chewing on it. Change the toothbrush if your baby is sick or you are not sure where the toothbrush has been. Baby’s teeth should be all one color. If you see spots or stains let us know.
3) Flossing : Even though kids may have spacing, it’s important to practice flossing so it becomes a better habit, especially for when their adult teeth start to erupt and things get crowded.
4) Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle at nap time or bed time: This is because the liquid can pool around the teeth causing an increased risk of decay. The sugars from breastmilk, formula, cow’s milk or juice can cause decay in the baby teeth which he/she will have until they are teenagers. If they need something to go to bed, put water in the bottle or the cup instead.
5) Babies are not born with the bacteria that cause decay: We give it to them, so try to limit how often you put things in your mouth and then in theirs. IE; food, spoons, drinks, pacifiers or teethers. * They sell special wipes to clean pacifiers and teethers, otherwise rinse in warm water. I strongly encourage you to never put anything in your mouth or something you’re drinking to clean it off before giving it to your baby.
6) Feed your baby healthy foods and limit snacking: A continuous exposure to
sugars, carbohydrates and acidic foods can increase the risk of cavities. Even natural sugars in fruits, veggies and yogurts, if left on the teeth too long, can break down the enamel leading to a cavity. Carbs turn to sugars in the mouth (examples; cheerios, gram crackers, goldfish, animal crackers & ritz crackers) if left on their teeth it can breakdown the enamel causing a cavity. A few other things to be aware of are juices (including apple & Orange), chocolate milk, gatorade, lemonade & soda, they are all ok once in a while and with a meal but continuous drinking will break down enamel and cause cavities over time.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the 1st dental visit should be 6 months after the babies’ first tooth erupts, preferably no later than the child’s 1st Birthday. Bringing your child in this early is beneficial because we can show parents how to properly clean their child’s teeth, discuss diet including liquids, thumb sucking, as well as pacifier and Sippy cup usage. We can also evaluate for any dental problems and answer any questions or concerns you may have as a parent. This appointment is also important because it connects your child with us and familiarizes them with our office and staff.
Tips for a Great Visit:
· Talk to your child about the visit, discuss what’s going to happen and be positive
· Have your child practice opening and closing their mouth
· Reading books or watching video’s about 1st dental visits – see our video below
· Don’t schedule during nap time, try to pick a time when you know they are generally well rested
· Please save snacks for after the visit, so remnants are not stuck on teeth during their visit
· If possible, please have all your paperwork filled out prior to coming in with your child