As a parent, you know how crucial it is to take your baby to the doctor. But what you may not realize is that it’s also important to visit a baby dentist. A baby’s teeth usually don’t start coming in until around six to eight months. It’s only natural to think you may not need to take your baby to the dentist during this time, but even the tiniest of teeth are at risk for tooth decay.
Schedule a Check Up with Your Baby Dentist
It’s important that your baby has the best start in life and visiting a pediatric dentist can help set the tone for a lifetime of good dental hygiene. It’s recommended that you bring your baby in for a first time visit within six months of the emergence of their first tooth. This is usually around your baby’s first birthday. Decay can occur even in small baby teeth, so the earlier you bring your baby in for a check-up the more likely it is problems can be prevented.
Your baby’s dentist will look for any early signs of issues with your baby’s oral health and help you determine the best way to care for your baby’s teeth at home. The earlier your baby goes to the dentist, the more comfortable they’ll feel going to regular dentist appointments throughout their life.
Dental Hygiene for Babies
Even before you schedule your baby’s first dental appointment, you want to begin practicing proper oral hygiene to prevent any future problems coming to light. Important dental care steps for your baby include:
- Gum Care: Taking care of your baby’s gums is important even before the first tooth appears. After a feeding, wrap a clean damp washcloth or piece of gauze over your finger and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This will clear your baby’s mouth of any food remnants.
- Teeth Cleaning: When your baby’s first tooth appears, you want to begin using a toothbrush. A long-handled toothbrush is a great option as it allows you and the baby to hold on to the handle at the same time. Another option is a brush that fits over your finger. Either one should have very soft bristles. For the first tooth, only water is necessary. As more teeth come in, you’ll want to start using toothpaste. For the first two years you should use a toothpaste without fluoride, unless advised by your dentist, as too much fluoride can be dangerous for babies.
- Preventing Cavities: It’s important not to give your baby sweetened liquids or flavored drinks. Fruit juice, formula, and even breast milk all have sugars present, so regular teeth and gum cleaning is crucial to prevent cavities. Make sure your baby doesn’t go to bed with a bottle as prolonged contact with sugary liquids can speed up tooth decay.
At Nia Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we want your baby to get off to a good start. To prevent tooth decay in even the tiniest of teeth, it’s important to visit a baby dentist soon after the first tooth emerges. To schedule an appointment or learn about more pediatric healthcare tips visit our website today.