As a new parent, you want to do everything you can to provide your baby with a happy and healthy future. One thing many parents of infants feel uncertain about is how to care for your child’s newly emerging teeth. Your baby’s oral health requires care and dedication, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult or tedious. Once you understand the basics, you can provide better care and catch developing issues quickly, making things better for you and your baby.
How Much Do Baby Teeth Matter?Baby teeth may be temporary, but they establish a template for your child’s future oral health development. Taking care of your baby’s dental health begins in the womb. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry officially advises all pregnant women to receive consistent cleanings and exams during their pregnancy to prevent against periodontal diseases such as gingivitis which can increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight. Good dental care for mom shouldn’t end once your baby is born, either — moms with poor oral health who are breastfeeding risk transferring harmful bacteria to their babies. Mothers need to be extra diligent about their teeth and gums by following these simple guidelines.
- Avoid sharing eating utensils, drinking cups, or food
- Brush twice a day, and floss at least once a day
- Use a good mouthwash
- Use a sugar-free chewing gum
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Eat a healthy diet with less sugar
- Keep up with your regular dental cleanings and
Establish a Healthy Relationship with the Dentist Early OnThe American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend establishing a family dentist for your child sometime during their first year. Preventive dental care and regular checkups lower the risk of developing dental problems when they are older, plus they get used to the routine and have better oral health habits. Try to make your child’s first visit to the dentist a positive and enjoyable experience. If your child can understand what is going on, explain everything you can, so they understand what’s going on reduce the chances of developing dental anxiety. Be careful about the words you use when talking about the dentist, and try avoiding words like “scary,” “needle,” “drill,” “pain,” “hurt,” or other words that your child will associate with negative emotions. It’s important to create positive memories and associations early on in your child’s life. Pediatric dental offices treat a lot of small children and infants, and so they understand how important a good first impression is for young children. They establish trusting relationships with their young patients and provide education and encouragement.
When Does Teething Usually Start?
Dental development is different for each child. Some babies are very late teethers, and others are very early. You can usually expect the front teeth to appear first at some point between the ages of 6 to 8 months.