Caring for Your Baby’s Baby Teeth: Baby Wellness
Oral Health Starts at Birth
Your child’s future oral health is impacted by their current oral health. From birth to their first teeth and beyond, there are things to consider and actions to take. Those sweet little primary "baby" teeth have thinner enamel and a larger pulp (the inner part of the tooth containing the nerves and blood vessels) which makes them more prone to cavities and toothaches than secondary or "adult" teeth. And while baby teeth do eventually fall out, they serve an important function, aside from the obvious, until that time. In fact, healthy baby teeth create a healthy environment for permanent teeth and reduce the chance of adult tooth decay. Cavities in baby teeth can alter the permanent teeth below the gums.
Also, baby teeth help the development of your child’s face and jaw, and those little tiny teeth support the facial structure and tissue during their growing years. It’s important for baby teeth and gums to stay healthy to prevent any unnecessary orthodontic interventions or illnesses. So let’s work together to ensure your child has a healthy smile for life!
Teaching your child good oral health habits during their early years will set them up for a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles. Check out our blog about teaching good oral health habits for some tips and pointers. If your child is a patient, we'll be glad to talk with you about specific ways you can help your child's smile shine bright.
How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth By Age
Birth to 6 months
Even before your child starts teething, setting a good oral health routine is important. Keeping the gums healthy will help prevent tooth decay when their first precious pearly whites start coming in. You can begin your baby’s oral health routine by gently cleaning their gums with a warm washcloth and water after each feeding. Gently massage their gums with your index finger to rinse away any remaining sugars from milk (and a gum massage for a teething baby will surely be welcomed). Do not give your baby a bottle during bedtime. This will let sugars sit on their teeth for extended periods of time. Teething babies will enjoy cold teething rings or cold, wet washcloths which are great ways to both cleanse their gums and provide some teething pain relief. Did you know that the bacteria that causes dental decay (cavities) can be transmitted from person to person? It’s true, so avoid using your mouth to test bottle temperature or clean a pacifier.
Caring for an Infant's Teeth
6 to 12 months
At this stage, your baby is starting to eat non-milk based foods and may even sprout some teeth. Continue to gently massage their gums with a wet washcloth after each meal. When their first tooth erupts you can begin to brush with a soft bristle toothbrush—do not use toothpaste yet. After the 12 month mark, your baby will start getting more nutrition from foods, and you can begin to wean from the bottle if you choose to and introduce sippy cups. Make sure you’re familiar with the normal appearance of your baby’s teeth and gums. If you notice white or brown spots or anything unfamiliar, that may indicate decay so contact our office for an appointment with your pediatric dentist in Omaha.
12 to 18 months
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and Pediatric Dental Specialists in Omaha agree that your child should have their first dental visit by the time they turn one, or when their first tooth erupts, whichever is first. By this age, your child will be eating a regular diet of nutrient-dense food and should be drinking formula, breastmilk, or no-sugar-added juices from a cup. Your child will likely have several teeth at this point so we recommend brushing with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste twice daily to establish a good oral health routine and to get your child used to the routine. If you haven’t yet scheduled your child’s first dental appointment, contact us today and our helpful team will find a time that works for you at our Omaha location.
Caring for Your Child’s Smile
From your child’s first visit to the time they graduate high school, Pediatric Dental Specialists in Omaha will be your partner in giving your child the gift of optimal dental health. Check out our blog to learn more about why your child will benefit from a pediatric dentist.