Dental Care For Your Baby
Q. When should my child first see a dentist?
A. “First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.
Q. Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?
A. The most important reason is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Early Childhood Cares (also known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries). Your child runs the risk of severe decay from using a bottle during naps, at night, or when they nurse continuously from the breast. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.
Q. How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing?
A. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle. At-will nighttime breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt. Drinking juice from a bottle should also be avoided. When juice is offered, it should be in a cup.
Q. When should bottle-feeding be stopped?
A. Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.
Q. Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?
A. Thumb sucking is normal for infants; most stop by age 2. Prolonged thumb sucking may create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. Your pediatric dentist will be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking habit.
Q. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
A. Starting at birth, clean your baby’s gums with gauze and water. Use toothbrush with water or fluoride-free toothpaste to clean teeth as soon they emerge from gum. If you use fluoride toothpaste for your baby, please use only a smear of toothpaste each day.
Q. Any advice on teething?
A. From six months to age 3, your child may have sore gums when teeth erupt. Many A clean teething ring or a cold wet washcloth may help, or simply rub the baby’s gum with a clean finger.
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