Raising a child is never easy, even with all of the preparations and precautions parents may take. Keeping a child clean and healthy is an entirely different level of difficulty since the numbers of children who enjoy practicing proper dental care are far and few. In many cases, proper dental care needs to start in the infant stages at home.
Tips for a healthy mouth
Some parents may be thinking, “My child can barely sit up and has no teeth, but I need to worry about dental care now?” The answer is a strong yes. Many oral health issues and diseases can begin forming in the infant stages and make the development of the child’s teeth difficult.
By taking proper care of an infant’s teeth before the first dental appointment, parents can ensure the child’s oral health and prevent infection. Here are a few tips for proper dental care techniques parents can use at home to ensure their infant child has healthy teeth before the first dental appointment.
Start as early as possible
Presented by the American Dental Association, mouthhealthy.org explains that parents need to “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.” Using this method until the teeth grow in can help keep the mouth clean and will cause the child little discomfort. Parents need to be careful once the teeth begin to come in when the baby reached six months of age. “As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur,” mouthhealthy.org writes.
Do not let the infant sleep with a bottle
Baby bottle tooth decay is a common culprit of early tooth decay in infants that occurs with “frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar,” mouthhealthy.org explains. In other cases, “Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.” When feeding the infant a bottle, be sure to keep the head propped up and follow the bottle of milk with some water. After the feeding, a parent needs to clean the mouth out with a damp washcloth.
Buy a child-sized toothbrush
Using a gentle toothbrush built for children will help to clean an infant’s teeth without causing harm to the teeth or surrounding gums. “When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and a smear (or grain of rice sized amount) of fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3,” mouthhealthy.org explains. Be sure to use a small amount of toothpaste to help prevent the infant from accidentally swallowing it.
Keep a baby’s pacifier clean
“If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean—don’t dip it in sugar or honey,” mouthhealthy.org explains. The sugar or honey on the pacifier will rub off onto the teeth or gums of the infant, leading to plaque buildup and infection. By keeping the pacifier clean, a parent can help prevent the early development of cavities.
Take the infant to the dentist when the first tooth appears
While the first visit may not be long or involve intensive cleaning, an infant’s first dental visit is important. The longer a parent waits to take a child to the dentist for the first time, the greater the chance for infection to form. Upon the first tooth appearing, mouthhealthy.org recommends to “talk to your dentist about scheduling the first dental visit.” The age that a tooth appears can vary per child, but do not to wait on this decision and seek professional dental care for your child today.
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At Asha Dental in Leawood, we will customize your treatment to match your needs and schedule. Our professional staff creates a calm atmosphere for you during the appointment and treatment process. We will identify any dental issues you are struggling with and find the best solution.
Our staff will create a calm and comforting atmosphere at the office to ease patients into the procedure. We can help prevent damage to your teeth and set you on track for a lifetime of pristine oral health. At Asha Dental, your dental health is our prime concern.
Call our Leawood, KS, dental office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.