One of those firsts is…you guessed it…teeth! Typically between the ages of 4-6 months old, your child will start to develop their primary teeth, and as a parent, here are a few things that you should know about caring for your child’s first few teeth that will set them up nicely for a health future!
Dental Care Facts for Infants and Babies in Johns Creek
Maintaining your child’s dental health and overall well-being is as important before he or she is born as it is during their first year of life. To ensure that your child is receiving the highest level of baby teeth care in Johns Creek, GA, your ideal choice is to work closely with the leading experts from Children’s Dental Zone.
The following are essential steps that must be taken before birth as well as up to your child’s first birthday.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women obtain dental health care throughout their pregnancy. Research has linked periodontal disease with preterm birth and low birth weight. In addition, mothers with poor dental health could be at a higher risk of passing bacteria that causes cavities to their children.
We recommend speaking with your doctor or dentist on ways you can prevent or treat periodontal disease during pregnancy. There are many things that can be done to help decrease this risk, such as regular visits to your dentist, daily brushing and flossing, a healthy diet that is low in sugars and starches, choosing a toothpaste with fluoride, and rinsing daily with an alcohol-free rinse. Never share eating utensils or other items that can transmit bacteria to your children. If you chew gum, choose something with xylitol, as this can decrease your and your children’s caries rate.
Infant Oral Care
When babies are born, they typically have around 20 teeth partly formed inside the gums. The front two – lower first and then upper – are the first to erupt between 6-12 months of age. By age 3, most kids have a set of fully functional 20 primary teeth in their mouths.
To ensure proper dental health, the American Dental Association recommends scheduling your child’s first appointment between the arrival of their first tooth and first birthday.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Early childhood caries (cavities) is also referred to as “baby bottle tooth decay.” This is a serious condition that is a result of lengthy exposure of your infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. These liquids can include milk, breast milk, formula, juice and any other sweetened drinks.
Putting your infant to sleep, whether for a nap or bedtime, with a bottle containing anything other than water can result in severe and rapid tooth decay. The sugar pools around the teeth give plaque a chance to produce acid that attacks their tooth enamel.
It can be difficult to put a baby to bed without a bottle to comfort them, and thus we recommend only using water. If needed, gradually dilute their normal drink of choice with water over several weeks until it only contains water.
Additionally, after each nighttime feeding, wipe your child’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth to remove the plaque.
Sippy cups are recommended as a training tool to help your child transition from a bottle to a cup, and should no longer be necessary after their first birthday. If your child continues to use a sippy cup throughout the day, fill it with water only at any time outside of meals. The prolonged period of exposure to liquids containing sugars through sippy cups will increase the cavity-causing bacteria in your child’s mouth.
Primary Teeth are Very Important!
Sometimes, parents ask us “why are primary teeth so important if they are going to fall out anyways?” That’s a great question! Here’s why:
Primary teeth are a critical step to ensure there is adequate spacing between teeth. Without adequate spacing, permanent teeth may not develop properly, and it’s possible there is a higher likelihood your child will need braces down the road.
The primary teeth provide structure and support for the mouth and face as your child grows (and we know how fast they grow during their first couple of years)!
While it’s easy to think that these aren’t permanent teeth so they aren’t important, that couldn’t be further from the truth! You should care for your child’s primary teeth just as you would for permanent, adult teeth.
Tips to Deal with Teething
Teething isn’t fun for babies or mom and dad, but it isn’t the end of the world (although it may seem like it when it’s 3am and your child won’t quit crying)! Here are a couple of tips to help your baby navigate through the teething stage:
We commonly recommend using Children’s Tylenol® or Children’s Motrin® to help ease your child’s pain during the teething process, and encourage you to speak to a pediatric dentist or your pediatrician about teething.
Give your baby something hard (but edible) to chew on that will help prepare their gums for tooth eruption. A carrot or cucumber is a great choice.
Don’t Put Your Baby to Bed with Milk
There’s a good chance your parents put you to sleep with a bottle of milk, but in reality this isn’t good for your child’s teeth.
The sugar in milk can lead to baby bottle tooth decay, and should be avoided right before bedtime. Of course it’s fine for your child to drink milk (provided they don’t have an allergy), but their teeth and gums should be cleaned after they drink milk before going to bed for the night.
How to Carefully Clean Primary Teeth
You should avoid using toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth until they are adequately able to swallow it. You can gently clean their new primary teeth and gums with a washcloth and warm water, and when they are old enough you can begin to use toothpaste.
Remember that your child’s teeth and gums are sensitive at this stage, so don’t be too rough!
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
As pediatric dentists (with years of specialized training to care for young children), we recommend your child see a pediatric dentist around their first birthday (if they are having any issues, feel free to bring them in even sooner).
At Children’s Dental Zone, we performed dental exams on young children around their first birthday to ensure their teeth and gums look healthy, and everything is developing on schedule. Since we so so many young children, we will be able to see immediately if something is out of the ordinary with your child and needs attention.
To learn more about baby teeth care in Johns Creek, GA, please do not hesitate to contact us at Children’s Dental Zone today!