INFANT ORAL HEALTH

General Info

Dental problems can begin early. It is important for your child to have healthy oral habits from the start to prevent dental decay. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age.

During this visit, your pediatric dentist will help identify any signs of oral disease and develop an oral health care program base on your child's individual needs. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child's smile now and in the future!

Dental Milestones

Even before your baby's first tooth appears, their gums can benefit from careful attention. After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth and gently rub it across your baby's gums. This practice bothclears your child's mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process of building a good habit of daily oral care.

When that first tooth makes an entrance, it's time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. In each case the bristles are soft and few. At this stage, toothpaste isn't necessary; just dip the brush in water before brushing. During the teething process your child will want to chew on just about anything—a baby toothbrush with soft bristles will avoid injury to your baby's gums. Avoid having your child walk around with a toothbrush in his mouth to prevent injuries.
Teething

Teething occurs when your child's baby teeth break through the gum and start to grow in. Teething usually begins around six months of age, but it is normal for teething to start at any time between three to 12 months of age.

 

The front teeth are the first to erupt at around six to eight months; the back teeth erupt between 18 and 24 months. Teething occurs until all 20 primary teeth are in place. This is normally around two and a half years of age.

 

Pediatric Dentists and Pediatricians often disagree about whether teething actually causes symptoms – like fussiness, coughing, fever and diarrhea – or whether it is just a coincidence that these common maladies occur at the same time as teeth are erupting. While some lucky parents report no apparent negative side effects, many others maintain that their teething babies do suffer discomfort.
 
If your child is showing discomfort during teething, the symptoms he/she may experience include: (a) excessive drooling, which may lead to a rash on the face or chest, (b) gum swelling and sensitivity, (c) irritability, (d) difficulty eating, (e) difficultly sleeping, (f) Low-grade fever (rare), and/or (g) rubbing of ears and cheeks.

There are several ways you can bring your child relief from teething symptoms, including:

  • Using a cold, wet cloth for your baby to suck as a way to soothe gums. Clean the cloth after each use.
  • Consider a pacifier, teething ring or other teething accessories and toys your child can chew. Make sure the object is big enough so it can't be swallowed or break into small pieces. Stay away from liquid-filled rubber teething rings, which can break or leak, and do not freeze them to the point that they are frozen solid, as this may only aggravate sensitive gums.