By: Alison Aldridge
It’s never too soon to start looking after your baby’s oral health, even before they have their first tooth. Plaque bacteria can still build up on their gums, and pediatricians and pediatric dentists recommend cleaning your baby’s gums with a clean damp piece of gauze or a damp washcloth after they have been fed. Babies generally begin to teethe from four months onwards, and once that first tooth appears it’s vital to begin brushing it gently. It’s also a great time to set up their first appointment with a pediatric dentist.
Taking Your Baby to the Dentist before Their First Birthday
This is because it will give dentist the chance to check everything is progressing normally and that the teeth are coming through as they should do. Your dentist can also give you lots of helpful tips on how to clean their teeth effectively, and how to prevent tooth decay from developing. This includes gently flossing in between the teeth as it’s never too young to start. You can buy baby toothbrushes that have extra soft bristles, and it’s worth using these until your child is aged two or three. You may also want to consult your dentist about the use of fluoride toothpaste. Some dentists don’t recommend using fluoride toothpaste until a child is aged two and able to spit out the excess.
Another important part of visiting the dentist this early on is that it gets your child used to the routine of going to the dental office every six months or so. This helps prevent them from becoming scared of this routine as they’ll simply see it as a normal part of life. In addition regular dental care will help ensure any problems that do develop are picked up quickly and can be treated far more easily and with the minimum of fuss. It’s recommended that all babies have visited a dentist by the time they celebrate their first birthday.
The Importance of Looking after Baby Teeth
It is important to look after baby teeth or primary teeth, even though they will eventually be replaced. The reason for this is that these baby teeth act as placeholders for the adult teeth to come through into and ensure they erupt into the correct position. Another reason for looking after these baby teeth is that your child needs them for learning to speak correctly, as it’s far easier to do so with teeth! Your child will also benefit from better nutrition and being able to eat a more varied diet if their baby teeth are well looked after and strong and healthy.
Children can and do develop tooth decay, and in fact it is the most common chronic childhood disease. It’s estimated approximately half of children have gingivitis which is the early form of gum disease, and nearly a fifth aged between two and three will have developed an untreated cavity before visiting the dentist for the first time. Proper dental care early on in life can prevent this from happening, and will help save your child from the pain of toothache that can result from tooth decay.
For more information on Baby Oral Health, please call Dr. Watson’s Jackson, MS office today!