Dental Care for Babies
- Although the first baby teeth typically erupt around 6 months of age, variances in development may result in earlier or later eruption times.
- Your Baby’s oral health care is important even BEFORE the teeth erupt. After each feeding, it is good practice to wipe down his or her gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth to remove plaque and food buildup.
- As Dr. V and Dr. Megan experienced firsthand with their own daughters, teething can be a difficult process for both you and your baby! The following techniques may help soothe your baby’s sore gums during this stage:
- Try to gently rub his or her gums with your finger or a clean, wet gauze pad.
- Give your baby something cool to chew on such as a refrigerator-chilled teething toy or spoon. Do not freeze teething toys, as extreme cold may harm your baby’s gums.
- If your baby is especially irritable, try infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen after consulting with his or her pediatrician first.
- Do not use gels or creams with local anesthetics (like benzocaine or lidocaine) as they have been known to cause rare but serious reactions in a small number of children.
- Once your baby’s first tooth has arrived, start brushing his or her teeth twice per day with a child sized, soft bristled toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than the size of a grain of rice. For easiest access, it is helpful to brush their teeth while you are sitting down with his or her head resting in your lap.
- Tooth decay (cavities) can form as soon as your baby’s teeth come in. The following tips can help minimize the risk of tooth decay or other dental problems and keep your baby’s teeth healthy from day one:
- Brush your child’s teeth twice per day with a child sized, soft bristled toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than the size of a grain of rice.
- Teeth should be brushed before bed. Once the first teeth have erupted, do not put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing ANYTHING OTHER THAN WATER or allow them to fall asleep while breastfeeding.
- Limit beverages containing sugar (including milk or juices) to meal times only.
- Sucking habits can cause problems with tooth alignment and mouth development. Your child should stop using a pacifier by age two, and sucking fingers or thumbs by age four. Dr. V and Dr. Megan will monitor your child’s dental development, and help advise when and how to help them stop their habit.
The American Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental visit by age 1. We appreciate the opportunity to make Vista Family Dentistry your child’s dental home.