Early Dental Care

What to Know About Early Dental Care

Teething

A baby’s first tooth usually comes in between six and 12 months of age. Each subsequent baby tooth that emerges causes the gums to be sore, tender and easily irritated, symptoms that typically last until around age three. Parents can help soothe sore gums by rubbing them gently with a clean finger, a cold, wet washcloth or the back of a cold spoon.

Teething rings, especially ones that can be refrigerated, are also an effective means of soothing your baby’s aching gums while teething.

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Preventing Tooth Decay When Bottle Feeding

If you bottle feed your baby, it’s important to constantly be on the lookout for signs of baby bottle decay while he or she is teething.

Baby bottle decay is a term commonly used to describe general tooth decay in infants, and is usually caused by leaving a bottle with sweetened liquids, such as milk formula or fruit juice, in their mouth while sleeping.

When your baby is awake, the saliva in their mouth naturally carries the liquid (and all sugars within it) away from their teeth. However, while sleeping the saliva flow drastically decreases, giving these sweet liquids a chance to accumulate around your child’s teeth for long periods of time, and as the sugars mix with bacteria naturally found in dental plaque, it creates acids that attack the young, highly sensitive tooth enamel.

As a parent, you can minimize or entirely prevent your baby from experiencing baby bottle decay by making sure he or she is never bottle fed while sleeping, and by carefully examining their teeth for lines or dull spots that appear whiter than the tooth’s natural surface every one to two weeks.

If you’ve found your baby has difficulty falling asleep without a bottle, you can still allow them to sleep with one so long as it’s filled with water and not a sugary liquid.

About Your Infant’s New Teeth

Primary (“baby”) teeth play an essential role not just in a child’s dental development, but also his or her ability to speak clearly and chew food safely and properly. Primary teeth are also crucial to the development of a child’s jaw, as they essentially serve as a guide for where the permanent (“adult”) teeth will come in and replace them, which usually begins occurring around age six.

When it comes to maintaining the health of your son or daughter’s primary teeth, the sooner you start establishing an oral hygiene regimen, the better.

After all, the way you and your child care for his or her primary teeth plays a tremendous role in ensuring they have a good, healthy foundation for permanent teeth to come in, not to mention the habits to maintain them for life.

When to Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit

It’s highly recommended you schedule your child’s first dental visit around his or her first birthday for a couple reasons.

First and foremost, it allows your pediatric dentist to ensure their teeth are clean and healthy by removing plaque and tartar buildup, as well as eliminating bacteria that could eventually cause tooth decay or gum disease.

Second, the earlier you familiarize them with going to the dentist the better, as it allows them to build trust with their dental team and establishes a sense of ease and comfort for all future dental visits.

Gentle, Top-Notch Pediatric Dental Care in St. Louis

If your child is at least one year old and you have yet to schedule their first visit to the dentist, now is a great time to do so.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s dental development or you’d simply like to discuss proper pediatric oral hygiene with one of Ballas Dental Care’s friendly, compassionate dentists, contact us online or call (314) 432-5544 today.

We’ve been proudly serving patients of all ages throughout the St. Louis metro area for more than 40 years and we’d love nothing more than to add the youngest member(s) of your family to our long list of healthy, happy and smiling patients.