4 Simple Steps to Infant Dental Care

  As parents, we are the first teachers for our children, and they often mirror our approach to things in life. The same goes for our dental habits and starting with them as infants is key to a healthy beautiful smile.  Being a mother of two beautiful daughters- 4 years old and 10 months- and being a dentist, we make dental care a fun daily activity. I tend to like to handle dental care as more of an activity than a chore. Get creative with a silly song about teeth, or if that is not your thing, make counting their teeth and the new ones exciting.   Aside from the silliness, there are four general guidelines new parents should get in the habit of when it comes to their infant. Ensuring your baby grows up with healthy perfect teeth could save you thousands of dollars in the future on dental work.  
  1. Clean teeth and gums twice a day. Yes, just because they aren’t eating real food yet doesn’t mean their gums or new teeth shouldn’t be getting some cleaning action! Use a small toothbrush, finger brush or washcloth with a rice grain size of toothpaste. Make sure it is twice a day for two minutes! Allow your baby to chew for a few minutes since we know infants put any and everything in their mouths!
  2. No bottles as they fall asleep. Do not put your baby to sleep with a bottle because baby bottle tooth decay can develop. The name is derived directly from the cause of early infant tooth decay. “Baby bottle tooth decay happens when sweetened liquids or those with natural sugars (like milk, formula, and fruit juice) cling to an infant‘s teeth for a long time,” according to WebMD. If your baby wants to suck for comfort, consider a pacifier for a better option.
  3. Only put breast milk or formula in bottles. Babies should not drink juice or any other beverage beyond breast milk or formula in bottles. When your baby is old enough to use a sippy cup, you can allow occasional diluted juice, but only during a meal. Water is the beverage of choice between meals!
  4. Pay a visit to the dentist by their 1st birthday. Schedule a visit to your dentist by your little one’s 1st birthday or before if an issue arises. The first visit is more of an advisory appointment for parents, as well as to check the development of the primary baby teeth. Since all infants vary in development, you want to ensure your baby’s dental development is within normal limits. It also helps to have an established relationship with your dentist in the case of an accident or emergency, such as falling when learning to walk, or playing with older siblings.

Dr. Jones's two young daughters demonstrating good dental hygiene for kids

Be sure to follow Dr. Courtney Jones @JonesCreekFamilyDentistry on Facebook, and Instagram.

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