Dental Care for Your Baby

When should I take my child to first see a dentist?

Your child should visit a dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age. Establishing good dental and hygiene habits with early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile in the future.

What types of problems could my baby develop?

A substantial concern about the dental problems found in young infants is Early Childhood Caries. This is also commonly known as baby bottle tooth decay. Your child is at risk of severe decay when using a bottle during naps or when they continuously nurse from the breast.

Bringing your child in for a dental checkup at an early age allows a better chance of spotting and preventing dental problems. It is important to develop good dental habits in your child for healthy teeth that will allow them to chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence.

How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing?

As your child approaches their first birthday, encourage them to drink from a cup. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle and breast-feeding should be avoided after the first baby tooth begins to erupt. Avoid offering your child juice in a bottle, it is recommended that it be in a cup.

Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?

Thumb sucking is normal for infants as most stop by age 2. Discourage your child after age 4. With prolonged thumb sucking, your child is at risk of developing crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. Your dentist can suggests ways to manage a prolonged thumb sucking habit.

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

At birth, you can use a soft washcloth or infant toothbrush and water to clean your child’s gums. Most young children have not yet developed the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively. Assist your child as they learn how to brush their teeth properly. It is recommended that you do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 2-3.

Any advice on teething?

Your child may have sore gums when teeth begin to erupt between six months to 3 years. You may want to try giving your baby a clean teething ring or a cold wet washcloth. You may also try rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger.