Early dental care is crucial, and a child’s first dental visit should be scheduled following the eruption of the first primary tooth, usually around age 1. Cavities are preventable! Our goal is to educate parents on the best hygiene and diet tips to help prevent tooth decay, to discuss habits such as thumbsucking/pacifier use, and to provide a dental home in case of a dental emergency. The child sits in the parent’s lap in the exam room during this infant oral health exam so that he or she can feel comfortable in the dental setting.
Oral Health Checklist for Infants
- Clean your child’s mouth daily; begin using a soft bristle toothbrush when his or her teeth begin erupting
- If brushing is a challenge (and it often is!) speak with one of our dentists for helpful tips, such as modeling brushing in front of your child, singing fun songs, and the “knee to knee” method
- Use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste when brushing your child’s teeth
- Encourage your child to drink a lot of water and milk, especially between meals
- Limit fruit juice, as well as sweetened flavored water, to mealtimes only, and to 4 oz/day
- Limit sugary foods to mealtimes only; avoid sticky sugary candies or treats as much as possible. Avoid gummy vitamins as they can be a source of cavity causing sugars.
- Limit the amount of snacks your child receives between meals
Normally the first teeth (the lower incisors) erupt between ages 6 to 12 months. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, though place and order can vary. Gums are sore, tender and sometimes irritable during this process. 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 as well, or frozen fruit in a mesh feeding bag. Do NOT use teething gels or tabs as they can contain harmful products for children.
Trauma to Your Baby’s Teeth or Mouth
As your child learns to walk and run it is possible she may fall and injure her mouth. Mouth injuries can be scary, but sometimes look worse than they really are, which is why we encourage you to call us if you are concerned or have questions after a fall. The pediatric dentists can be reached during and after office hours by calling 781-659-7442.