Babies go through many amazing milestones in the first few years of their lives. One of these milestones is the eruption of their first little teeth. These little teeth are more than just adorable; they are also an essential part of the development of their mouth. To ensure that they can perform their important tasks, they require special care. Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry can help.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
While the baby teeth are adorable and eventually fall out to be replaced with adult teeth, they do have some important functions. The teeth help your baby eat as you transition them from breast or bottle to solids. As your baby learns how to talk, the teeth aid in proper speech development. The baby teeth are also crucial for the development of the adult teeth, and they hold the space open for when the adult teeth are finally ready to start coming in.
Oral Care Before Teeth
Just because your infant does not have any teeth yet, this does not mean that you do not need to take care of their mouth. Good oral hygiene starts before the first tooth even comes in. Starting when your baby is a few weeks old, you can use a damp washcloth to gently wipe their gums after each feeding. This will help to remove sugars and harmful oral bacteria, and aids in keeping their mouth clean and healthy.
Taking Care of Infant Teeth
Once the baby teeth begin to come in, you can begin brushing them. An infant toothbrush is best. This type of toothbrush has soft bristles and a small head. Use a rice sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Gently brush the teeth and gums twice a day.
When Should My Infant First See the Dentist?
The first dental visit for your baby is probably earlier than you might think. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your baby should be seen for their very first dental appointment six months after the eruption of their first baby tooth, or by their first birthday, whichever one comes first. This first visit and the few following it is fairly short. It is designed for us to get to know you and your child, and you and your child to get to know us. We can provide you with oral care tips, discuss any oral habits your child has, and answer any questions that you might have.
Helping to Keep Infant Teeth Healthy
In addition to brushing their new little teeth twice a day, there are other things that you can do for your child to help keep their mouth healthy. Avoid giving your baby a bottle of milk, formula, or juice at naptime or bedtime. Any liquid that pools in the mouth can increase the risk for cavities. If your child needs a bottle to go to sleep and is over the age of 6 months, provide them with a bottle of water. Limit juice to mealtimes so that the sugars can be naturally washed away.
Teething is the process by which the baby teeth erupt through the gums. This happens multiple times, as the teeth all erupt at different stages. Your baby may be uncomfortable during this time, until the teeth break through the gums, and may be fussy. You can help to alleviate pain by giving them something to chew on, such as a cold teething ring or a cool, damp washcloth.
Keeping infant teeth healthy is important for proper oral development. Call Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry today for more information at (316) 202-9629.