If you’ve just had a baby, you are likely getting well-meaning advice from all sides. Sleep training. Discipline. Introducing solids. The sheer amount of advice can be overwhelming. But one thing you may not hear much about is dental care for babies. Despite the lack of discussion, pediatric dental care is vital if you want your child to enjoy lifelong oral health.
At Dental Concepts & Orthodontics in Salinas, CA, we provide quality dental care to the whole family. Prioritizing patient education, we are always ready to help new (or veteran) moms establish good habits for their babies’ teeth. Plus, we offer pediatric dental services, such as exams and cleanings – a routine that needs to start earlier than you might expect!
To learn more or to schedule an appointment for your child, contact our office today.
Brushing and Flossing
Brushing and flossing should begin as soon as your child starts teething. Parents should use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a tiny smear of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Similarly, they should start flossing as soon as kids have two teeth that touch.
Unfortunately, parents often assume that brushing is not that critical in the first years of life. The reality is that baby teeth are just as likely to develop cavities as permanent teeth. In fact, 23% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 have sustained at least one cavity. Furthermore, early cavities can cause problems with later dental health, including an increased risk for decay as adults.
To further reduce the risk of cavities, appropriate dental care can begin even before teething starts. Experts recommend wiping down your baby’s gums with a soft cloth at least twice a day or after every feeding.
Bottles and Breastfeeding
If you use a bottle to feed your baby, certain bad habits can lead to cavities. First of all, bottles should only be used for breast milk or formula, never for cow’s milk, juice, or other sugary beverages.
Second, never put your baby to bed with a bottle. If your little one falls asleep with it in his mouth, the milk will pool up behind his teeth, often sitting there for hours during the night.
Nursing moms also need to take some precautions, especially as their children grow older. One study indicates that children over the age of 18 months who continue to nurse at night are at a higher risk of tooth decay.
Like brushing and flossing, dental visits should begin sooner than you might expect. You should schedule your child’s initial appointment once her first tooth comes in or by her first birthday – whichever comes first.
These visits will give your dentist a chance to check oral development and look for any unusual concerns. Your hygienist will also clean your baby’s teeth to remove plaque and tartar, which can affect kids just as much as adults.
Learn More about Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth
As a new mom, you don’t have to do things alone. For more guidance in early dental health, contact Dental Concepts & Orthodontics today.
Schedule your appointment online or call us at 831-443-3633.