When it comes to infant oral care, many parents are surprised to learn how early they should enlist the help of a dentist. The AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommends that you schedule your child’s first oral hygiene appointment when they reach their 1st birthday. Why so soon? Practical prevention. The best way to treat decay is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Dental problems can occur early from baby bottle decay or nursing. Gum disease statistics are staggering. Approximately half of all children between the ages of 2 and 3 have at least mild gum tissue inflammation. By practicing these infant oral care tips, and educating yourself on infant oral hygiene, you help prevent many common problems. Healthy teeth and gums allow your child to learn to speak more clearly, to chew his food properly, and to share his smile with confidence.
Did you know that infant oral care begins even before teeth erupt? Your infant is exposed to sugars in the milk and juices they drink and when they begin to eat solid foods. These sugars, if left to sit in your child’s mouth for long periods of time, can affect the health of their gums and developing teeth. Parents can help their young children develop good oral habits by beginning to clean their gums right after they are born. Expect that it may take some getting used to at first, but soon your baby will not be opposed to having his mouth cleaned. Dedicating yourself to infant oral care early on will foster better outcomes/habits with toothbrushing and flossing in the future.
The American Dental Association offers these great tips for cleaning your baby’s gums or his first teeth when they erupt around 6 months of age:
Thumb-sucking is a natural reflex found in 66% of children ages 0-2. Infants are born with this natural reflex for sucking. This reflex is crucial for helping babies get nourishment and to self-soothe. Sucking on fingers, objects or thumbs helps infants and children feel secure and happy and can help children fall asleep. So, when does a parent need to be concerned about the habit and when do they need to intervene? According to the American Dental Association, the best time to discourage thumb-sucking is by age four. Pay attention to how often your child sucks their thumb–the frequency and intensity of the thumb-sucking will affect if and when you need to take action. Talk with Dr. Nam about the behavior so she can assess your child and help you determine when and what to do.
At Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics we want the best for your child just like you do which is why we offer a free infant dental exam for Erie families! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children be seen for an exam as early as one year of age or within six months of the eruption of the first baby tooth. We want to partner with you and your infant oral care so that you can start this journey with your baby empowered with the best education and prevention strategies and tips we can offer you for success.
When you choose Dr. Nam and her friendly office staff, you are choosing a dental home for your child that will provide him/her and you with the expert care, loving attention, and support that you will need for a lifetime of excellent dental health. Just as you have a pediatrician looking out for the well-being of your child with pediatric training and skills, Dr. Nam has the extra school and training that qualifies her as a pediatric dentist equipped to nurture your young child and give him/her what they they need.
Parents equipped with patient education and good hygiene habits offer their children a healthy start that can pave the way for a lifetime of oral health success. We have compiled a list of common questions that relate to infant oral care to help you find the answers you need. Call today to schedule your baby’s first appointment. This initial infant dental exam is complimentary for children younger than 24 months. To learn more about our treatments or to schedule an appointment, call our Erie office today at 720-887-6003.