Giving your child the best start on their oral health starts from birth. Keeping your child’s mouth and new and future teeth healthy begins well before they show signs of their first baby tooth.
As an experienced pediatric dentist, Staci Brunell, DMD, of Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, NY, recommends you start healthy mouth habits with your baby from day one to give them their best chance at lifelong dental health.
Here’s more information about oral care for babies and what you can do to support your baby’s oral health from their earliest days.
Why is oral care important for infants?
Starting good oral habits with your child, even before there are any signs of their first teeth, is the best way you can prevent your child from developing teeth and mouth problems down the road. Ensuring your child’s mouth is clean and doesn’t create an environment for dangerous bacteria makes them less likely to develop cavities.
Once your infant starts getting their first teeth, they can start getting cavities and tooth decay immediately. Taking care of these teeth right away means your child will be less likely to experience uncomfortable and potentially dangerous decay and gum problems.
Supporting your baby’s oral health
To give your child the best start at their oral health, use the following hacks when they are young.
Avoid sharing saliva
Bacteria that causes tooth decay is transmissible from adults to babies. Coming into contact with your saliva can cause your child to develop dental issues at a younger age.
To reduce the chances of this happening, avoid tasting your child’s bottle to check the temperature, putting your mouth onto any utensils or other items that go into your child’s mouth, and kissing your infant directly on the mouth.
Start gum care right away
From birth, you can start your child out with healthy gums by wiping their mouth with a moistened washcloth after they eat. After your child starts getting their first teeth, continue doing this on the gums where teeth haven’t erupted.
Your child might also start to get red, painful gums when they start teething at around 4 months of age. You can safely relieve the pain with a clean, cold teething ring or a cool washcloth.
Care for teeth as soon as they come in
Once your infant’s first tooth starts to come in, you need to start brushing it. Use a small, soft bristled brush and toothpaste the size of a grain of rice.
Since your child isn’t able to spit yet, wipe any toothpaste out of your child’s mouth with a washcloth after brushing.
Watch for any changes
From birth, start to become familiar with how your child’s gums look, followed by their teeth once they come in. If you notice any changes or discoloration in your child’s mouth, let our team know so they can advise you on the next steps.
Start dental visits young
Your child can start dental visits at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry before they even grow teeth. Our team offers complimentary well baby visits to children 2 and under to ensure their oral health is on track.
During these short and useful visits, you have a chance to ask personal questions about your child while we assess your child’s oral health, hygiene, and nutrition, while performing an exam and providing personalized guidance.
Once your child turns 1 year old or gets their first tooth, it’s also time to schedule their first visit. At this appointment, our team performs a 30-45 minute careful examination of your child’s teeth and mouth, assesses relevant developmental milestones, and offers you guidance on oral health, nutrition, and any questions you have.
To get your infant started out in life with the best oral and dental health, contact our team today to make an appointment.