Did you know that your baby’s teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear? Typically, a baby’s first tooth starts pushing up through the gums around 6 months of age. You can actually help prevent tooth decay by beginning an oral hygiene routine as early as the first few days after birth. Start by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean gauze pad. This helps removes plaque that can harm erupting teeth. When your child's teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child's size toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. In some cases, infants and toddlers experience decay so severe that their teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed.
Use only formula or breast-milk if bottle-feeding. An infant should finish their bottle before naptime or bedtime.
Most children will have a full set of 20 baby teeth by the time they are 3-years-old. As your child grows, their jaws also grow, making room for their permanent teeth.
Here are some cleaning tips to help prevent cavity formation and to help develop good oral hygiene at an early age.
· Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur.
· For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
· As children get a little older, increase the amount of toothpaste. For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Continue to make sure your child’s teeth are brushed twice a day and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
· Once your child has two teeth that touch – you can teach them how to gently floss to remove any food that might get stuck between the teeth.
Teething is one of the first rituals of life. As your little one’s teeth begin to appear he or she may become fussy, have trouble sleeping and is irritable. Infants sometimes lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not normal symptoms for a teething baby. If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.
When should you plan on your baby’s first dental appointment? As soon as the first tooth appears! The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday. Don’t wait for them to start school or until there's an emergency. Get your child comfortable today with good mouth healthy habits.
During the dental visit you can expect the dentist to:
• Inspect for oral injuries, cavities or other problems.
• Let you know if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay.
• Clean your child’s teeth and provide tips for daily care.
• Discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger/thumb-sucking habits.
• Discuss treatment, if needed, and schedule the next check-up.
As you can see, the road to healthy teeth starts early! Starting good oral hygiene habits as soon as your baby’s first tooth comes in can help prevent tooth decay later and spot any jaw or alignment issues before they become a problem.
Story source: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/babies-and-kids/healthy-habits/