New parents often are in the dark about how much dental care is needed for their baby or toddler. They know they don’t want their child to have cavities, but they often lack guidance. My office – Southfield dentist Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD -offers these tips.
Dental Care Tips for Babies and Toddlers
- Eat nutritious foods during pregnancy. Your baby’s teeth start to form in the second trimester.
- Start caring for your newborn’s teeth before they have erupted through the gums. Wipe all the gums where teeth will be coming in in the future with a thin, soft dampened terrycloth washcloth over your finger after feedings to deter bacterial growth.
- Avoid putting your baby’s spoon in your mouth to reduce the transfer of cavity-causing bacteria from mother to infant.
- When teeth appear, after feedings use a soft baby brush or a thin, soft damp terrycloth washcloth over your finger to wipe the fronts, tops and backs of any baby teeth present and also the gums where future teeth will be growing later to rub away milk, food particles, and plaque bacteria. This will help preserve the enamel and prevent decay as well as reduce the acid levels around the teeth.
- Instill good feeding habits. Avoid letting your child snack constantly or suck on a bottle or sippy cup of juice all day long. Even milk contains sugar. Children who snack and drink constantly bath their teeth in these sugars, which raise the mouth’s pH and promote decay.
- NEVER, EVER, put a baby to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup. Teeth that are bathed in liquids at night will quickly get cavities which can quickly totally destroy the teeth right down to the gums before you know it. This is called acid-induced “bottle rot” or “bottle syndrome,” and is a absolutely horrible but avoidable thing to happen to a baby. If you must use a bottle or sippy cup in bed, it must be filled with plain water only!
- We typically see babies for their first dental visit by age 3, but the trend by pedodontists is to see kids for the first time at age 1. They eventually will have 20 primary (baby) teeth.
- A very small dab of toothpaste may be used on a baby’s teeth. Do not squeeze out a ribbon of toothpaste on the brush. Instead, push the bristles into the top of the tube so an extremely small dab of toothpaste is used on the baby’s teeth. His brushing should be supervised until he can handle a toothbrush properly and spit out toothpaste rather than swallow it.
Our Southfield dentist office is a kid-friendly zone! Call 248-356-8790 to schedule a pediatric dental appointment.
So until next time,
Dr. Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
26206 West 12 Mile Road, Suite 303
Southfield, MI 48034