If you are a brand new parent, it is both an exciting time and a frightening time. There’s nothing quite like the realization that there is a little person in the world who is completely dependent on your care, and that when it comes to her health the buck stops with you. Once her first tooth erupts at around six months, proper dental hygiene is suddenly added to your to-do list. Here’s a quick overview of and what to do regarding your baby’s healthy teeth.
Should I brush her teeth?
Generally, a brush is not needed until your baby starts cutting her upper teeth as well. A simple swipe over her teeth with a clean cotton cloth after every meal should be enough. It’s hard to believe, but children as young as a year old can already get cavities! So the best thing you can do to prevent such problems is to not let her suck on bottles of formula or juice other than at meal time.
Even baby formulas contain sugar, and too many new parents allow their babies to take bottles to bed to facilitate falling to sleep. Her teeth are then bathed in sugar all night long, and her oral health may be greatly compromised. Bottom line: Don’t brush; just swipe. And only allow bottles of juice, milk or formula at meal time.
When should she go to the dentist?
The answer to this question depends on who you talk to. Pediatricians generally advise by age three, but pediatric dentists suggest no later than by age one. So really, it’s up to you to make a judgment call in this regard. Certainly, if your baby is a special needs child or has worrisome habits such as thumb sucking: then by all means visit the dentist no later than her first birthday.
To encourage a lifelong trust of dental professionals, a pediatric dentist is preferred over a family dentist. A pediatric dentist’s practice and office setting is totally geared toward the treatment of children and making kids feel comfortable, and the staff is thoroughly trained in making your baby’s experience a fun and positive one.