Baby’s First Visit to the Dentist
There are important milestones in dental development to be aware of before your child visits the dentist. Some of the primary issues during this stage of development include:
Pregnancy and Your Baby’s Dental Health
Teeth begin to develop in month three of your pregnancy. Teeth require the presence of certain minerals to become strong. Your diet is your baby’s diet so eat healthy yourself by choosing vegetables, fruit and probiotics for healthy teeth. In this way, your child will have a better chance of developing strong bones and teeth.
Also, be sure to practice good oral hygiene. Fifty to seventy percent of pregnant women get ‘pregnancy gingivitis,’ gum disease associated with the higher-than-normal levels of progesterone in their bodies. Protecting yourself from gum disease during this critical period is simple and may be a good incentive for instilling healthy habits that will last long after your baby is born: brush at least twice a day, floss, and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash each and every time.
Baby Teething and Preventing Infant Tooth Decay
Normally the first tooth erupts between ages six to twelve months. Gums are sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of three. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits—they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.
While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side, every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay.
This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar, acids attack the teeth for about twenty minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.
Infant’s First Tooth Eruption
An infant’s first tooth normally erupts when she or he is around six to eight months old. We know it seems early, but a child’s first dental visit should occur six months after this first tooth appears. See Toddlers – Young Children Dental Care for more information on the importance of primary teeth.
Infant Oral Hygiene and Baby Dental Care
As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts you should begin taking care of it. Brush your child’s teeth gently without toothpaste or rub them with a clean damp washcloth. Toothpaste at this young age should be used very sparingly, if at all since toothpaste that is swallowed can be harmful to young bodies. As soon as your child has two teeth that are touching, begin flossing, gently removing plaque from the sides of the teeth where toothbrushes can’t reach.
Baby’s First Dentist Visit
Plan on having your child’s first dental visit scheduled around his/her first birthday and most certainly by their second birthday. It is important not to wait. About 20% of children who arrive for their first dental visit between the ages of two and three will have at least one cavity. We realize that visiting the dentist for the first time can be scary (often more for the parent than the child), so we’re happy to treat your child while he or she sits on your lap.
The exam is brief and if x-rays are necessary they can be taken with the parent assisting. We use digital x-rays to detect cavities, mouth malformations, the impacts of an injury or any other malady whose lack of treatment would result in far more dangerous problems than an exposure to the small levels of radiation involved in a dental x-ray. A cleaning is performed using a little cup and polishing paste and a fluoride treatment is applied to the teeth. Our goal is to develop a caring relationship with your child and encourage proper oral hygiene for a lifetime.