The lifelong journey of dental prevention and oral health begins from the moment your baby is born. When your little one is less than a year old and you can easily count the number of teeth he has, it’s critical to set the stage for a healthy smile.
From soothing teething gums to maintaining baby’s hygiene and even planning for his first dental visit, new parents have a lot to think about. Here are 10 tips to ensure top marks in oral health from year one on:
- Wipe the inside of baby’s mouth every day, gently massaging the gums with a damp washcloth.
- Avoid a pattern of putting baby to bed with a bottle or allowing baby to bottle feed at will, as this creates slow and constant exposure to the sugars in milk or formula.
- Encourage baby to drink from a sippy cup at six months old. Fruit juices should only be served in cups, not bottles, and limited to mealtime once a day.
- Try to avoid sharing utensils with your baby. Bacteria from your saliva, called streptococcus mutans, are transmittable from your mouth to theirs and may increase the risk for lifelong decay.
Keep pacifiers clean with water only.
- Your baby’s first tooth will erupt when she is around six months of age. Remember to schedule her first dental visit within six months of this important milestone!
- Soothe teething babies with a chilled teething ring or cold, wet washcloth against the gums.
- Switch from the washcloth to using a soft-bristled brush and cold water to clean baby’s new teeth.
- Check baby’s mouth daily for white or brown spots, peeking under the lips and inside the cheeks. Schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist should you see any of these potential warning signs of dental decay.
- Keep the one-year-mark as a target to wean baby from the bottle.
In fact, promoting baby’s oral health begins well before he or she is born. Check out Alameda and Pleasanton Pediatric Dentistry’s article on how to Defend Your Infant’s Teeth – from Pregnancy On.