Life is hectic for new moms and dads, and some function on very little sleep. At Mt. Vernon Center For Dentistry, we don’t want the first year to fly by in a blur without you giving a thought to baby’s teeth. It’s never too early for new Alexandria parents to construct a plan for their child’s lifelong oral health.
- Before the first teeth appear, wipe baby’s gums with a soft damp cloth or piece of gauze after feeding.
- Prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Most new parents are cautioned not to put babies to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. However, since baby-bottle cavities are still fairly common, this warning bears repetition. Baby bottle tooth decay is entirely preventable. If your baby will not sleep without a bottle, use only water. Moms who breastfeed should understand that breast milk is just as effective at creating an environment for decay. If your child uses a pacifier, don’t dip it in sugar or honey.
- Take your infant to the dentist early. Your child’s first dental exam should occur when the first teeth erupt, usually between six months and one year of age.
- When your baby’s first tooth peeks through, begin brushing gently with a small, soft toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. This helps with keeping that tooth decay-free while allowing your baby to get comfortable with regular oral hygiene.
- From the ages of 3 to 6, the amount of toothpaste can increase to a pea-sized dab. Most children swallow instead of spit. You don’t want your child to swallow more than a minuscule smear of toothpaste. While fluoride is essential, too much can be harmful.
- Consider dental sealants. Sealants coat the teeth and prevent cavities by filling in the cracks and fissures where food particles can hide, breeding bacteria that doesn’t take long to create cavities. Sealants are especially important in the back teeth, which are hardest to clean properly.
- Talk to us about pacifier use, thumb-sucking, or any other habits that affect teeth and jaw development.
- Teach your toddler to drink from a cup as soon as possible. The fewest months your child uses a bottle, the better. Even if your child loves his bottle, you are going to have to take it away sooner or later.