Primary “baby” teeth are designed to function throughout the childhood years. Some of your child’s baby teeth are not lost until the age of 12. They help in the development of face and jaws and support facial structures and tissues. They are also important for chewing food to aid in proper digestion through your child’s “growing” years.
Another vital function of primary teeth is to hold the space and guide the permanent teeth in place. Baby teeth have relatively thin enamel and large pulps compared with adult teeth, and can become decayed and infected easily. Infected baby teeth can change your child’s adult teeth developing below them. Decay-free primary teeth create a healthy environment for your child’s permanent teeth and reduce the chance for tooth decay. Give your child a strong self-esteem with a healthy, beautiful smile.
It’s important to take care of your child’s teeth and oral health from birth! You’re a role model in your child’s life, which means it’s your job to help your child practice healthy habits that prevent tooth decay and have a positive attitude toward their dental care.
Clean your infant’s gums after feeding. This can be easily done by cradling your baby in one arm, wrapping a moistened washcloth around the index finger of your free hand, and gently massaging their gum tissues.
Try not to put your baby to bed with a bottle.
Infants normally begin teething between four and six months of age. Their gums may be red and swollen which may increase the saliva flow. Help ease these symptoms by giving your infant a clean teething ring or cold, wet washcloth. Cold temperatures are soothing, so you may want to chill the teething ring.
Remember that dental decay is an infectious, transmissible disease. Avoid testing the temperature of your infant’s bottle with your mouth, sharing utensils, or cleaning a pacifier or a bottle nipple by putting it in your mouth. Help stop the transmission of bacteria that cause tooth decay by practicing these tips.
Continue to clean your infant’s gums after feeding. Once a tooth comes in, start to use a child’s soft bristled toothbrush, without toothpaste, in addition to massaging the gum tissues.
Begin to wean your baby from the bottle as your infant begins to eat more solid foods and drinks from a cup. Gradually begin to offer a cup for water or juice. By age 12 to 14 months, most children can drink from a cup. Promote healthy habits now by limiting the frequency and amount of sweetened beverages and foods you give your child. Prevent your baby from walking around with their bottle.
Be familiar with the normal appearance of your child’s gums and teeth. Routinely lift your child’s lips to check for suspicious, small white or brown spots on his/her teeth. If you see these white or brown spots, which may indicate dental decay contact our office to schedule an appointment today.
Schedule your child’s first dental appointment before their first birthday or within 6 months after the first tooth comes in.
If your drinking water is not fluoridated, discuss with your dentist other fluoride options for your infant.
Your child should have their first dental exam by the age of 1. Call us if you have any questions about your infant’s dental health, as we are happy to assist you.
Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with plain water.
Continue to check for white and brown spots on your child’s teeth, as this may be a sign of tooth decay.
Continue to take steps to avoid passing decay causing germs to your child.
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