If you’re a new mom or have one on the way, you’re probably nose-deep in how-to books and apps that detail everything from diaper rash to play dates. But many of those helpful aids fail to address caring for your infant’s teeth. After all, they’re going to fall out anyway, right? Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean that your little one won’t suffer a cavity before losing his or her baby teeth.
What’s more, not only are cavities painful and scary for infants and toddlers, they can have long-term negative impacts, too. Healthy baby teeth are important for nourishment, speech development and providing space maintainers and a strong environment for permanent teeth that develop later. To that end, Grove City Dental offers these tips for protecting your little one’s dental health:
- Take great care care of your own teeth while pregnant or breastfeeding. Cavities are produced by bacteria that live on sugar that is part of your baby’s diet and deposit acid against your child’s tooth surfaces. Reduce the risk to your child by reducing the risk to your own oral health.
- Even if you’ve got great dental health, avoid putting anything that has been in your own mouth in your baby’s mouth. Many wearied moms will spit-clean their baby’s pacifier if there’s no water source nearby. That’s a definite no-no for many reasons. Keep clean spare pacifiers with you and clean them water instead.
- Avoid excessive nighttime feedings and never prop a bottle in your baby’s crib.
- Before your child develops teeth, wipe his or her mouth each day with a soft, moist washcloth to help keep bacteria from building up in your baby’s mouth. It also will help ease pain when your baby begins to teethe.
- Once your baby’s first tooth emerges, switch to a soft-bristled infant toothbrush and use a rice grain-sized smear of fluoride-containing toothpaste. Increase the amount to a pea-sized smear when your child learns to spit – usually around three years old.
- Wait until your baby is at least six months old before giving him juice, and stock up on healthy snacks like cheese, yogurt.
- Check your child’s teeth daily for chalky white or brown spots. These could be early signs of tooth decay.
- While you’re planning your baby’s first birthday party, also schedule his first pediatric dentist appointment. This will help catch potential problems and set your child on a healthy track early on.
Also remember that pediatric dentistry is a specialty that requires several years of training beyond basic dental school, so choose wisely. Grove City Dental’s Dr. Scott Schumann is nationally renowned and considered among America’s top dental experts. And, he knows just how to make visits to the dentist comfortable and fun for kids in the Grove City, Ohio area. Call 614-808-1700 to schedule an appointment.