Infant Dental Care
Your infant will achieve many incredible milestones in the first year of their life. One of these milestones is the eruption of the first baby teeth. While these tiny teeth are adorable, and provide your baby with a cute little grin, they are also very important. They play an integral role in the oral development of your child. In order to ensure that these tiny teeth are able to perform their roles properly, they require special care, and Great Grins for KIDS - Oregon City can help with tips for infant dental care.
Why are Baby Teeth Important?
Baby teeth, or primary teeth, are the first teeth to come in. These teeth are only temporary, and typically begin to fall out around the age of 6 to be replaced with the permanent teeth. So, if these teeth are temporary, why are they so important? The baby teeth actually play a few important roles in the mouth. These roles include:
|Eating. The teeth help your baby to eat a wide variety of different foods as they are transitioned from breast or bottle to solids. With the baby teeth, your child can explore a wide range of different tastes and textures as they grow.
|Speaking. Baby teeth help your child to develop proper speech patterns.
|Holding space for the adult teeth. One of the most critical roles of the baby teeth is that they act as a space holder for the adult teeth, and help these permanent teeth to erupt properly.
Care Before the First Baby Tooth
Infant dental care starts before the eruption of the first baby tooth. Starting when your baby is just a few weeks old, you can use a damp washcloth to wipe their gums after every feeding. This helps to remove sugars in their mouth, as well as any harmful oral bacteria that may be present in their mouth. This practice also helps to get your infant accustomed to the practice of oral hygiene.
Caring for Baby Teeth
As the baby teeth begin to erupt, you can begin to brush them. Use a toothbrush designed for infants, as these toothbrushes are much smaller and more comfortable. Choose a brush with soft bristles. If your baby is over 6 months of age, you can use a rice-sized amount of fluoride-free toothpaste. Brush their teeth and their gums gently twice a day.
When Should My Child Have Their First Dental Appointment?
Just like you, your child needs to have regular dental visits to help them maintain optimal oral health. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child have their very first appointment 6 months after the eruption of their very first baby tooth, or by the time they turn 1. Following their first appointment, they should continue to have regular cleanings and exams every 6 months.
Additional Tips for Healthy Baby Teeth
Along with brushing twice a day, there are a few other things that you can do to help your infant maintain good oral health. Avoid giving a bottle of formula, milk, or juice at nap or bedtime. These fluids contain sugars that can provide food for oral bacteria, increasing the risk for cavities. If your child needs a bottle to go to sleep and is over the age of 6 months, a bottle of water can be given.
Tips for Teething
Teething is the natural process in which the baby teeth erupt through the gums. It can cause quite a bit of discomfort for your infant. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 3 days before the tooth erupts and continue until the tooth breaks through the gums. During this time, your infant may be fussy or irritable. You can help to alleviate their discomfort by giving them something to chew on, such as a cool teething ring or cool washcloth. Read More About Teething
Even infants require good oral care. If you have any questions or concerns about the oral care of your infant, do not hesitate to call Great Grins for KIDS - Oregon City at 971-470-0045 today.