Newborn to 18 Months Old

Newborn to 18 Months Old

Infant oral health needs are a crucial part of proper and healthy early development. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) support children seeing a dentist and establishing a dental home by 12 months of age. No child is born with cavities, so it is essential to establish proper brushing and feeding habits at an early age because early childhood cavities are preventable.

Below are some questions that are frequently asked during the first/before the first visit.

What happens at your baby’s first dental visit?

During your child’s first dental visit, the pediatric dentist will examine their teeth for signs of decay and assess for any special care needs, such as dental enamel defects. This initial visit primarily serves as an educational opportunity for parents. You’ll be taught how to properly care for your baby’s teeth and gums, including the importance of daily brushing and flossing. The dentist will also offer dietary counseling, highlighting surprising ways certain foods and drinks impact oral health. For instance, it’s recommended to avoid giving juice from a bottle or sippy cup, and some teething biscuits may contain harmful sugars. Discussing your child’s eating habits early on provides tailored advice on promoting tooth-friendly choices. Additionally, this appointment is a great chance to seek professional advice on concerns like pacifier use and teething discomfort.

How can I make teething easier for my baby?

Teething can lead to on-and-off discomfort in the area of the gums where teeth are erupting. With teething, we can see irritability and excessive salivation; however, many children have no apparent difficulties. If your child is struggling with teething, you can comfort them by allowing them to chew on chilled teething rings. It is important to note that “numbing” teething gels even bought over the counter that have Benzocaine as an ingredient are not recommended due to the potential toxicity. However, there are natural teething gel options such as “Camilia,” which do not have benzocaine, and are safe to use and can provide added relief.

When should my baby see a dentist for the first time?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) also recommends that a child should visit the dentist for the first time within six months of their first tooth erupting or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. This early dental visit is known as the “first dental home visit.”

The purpose includes providing parents with essential information about oral hygiene practices, proper nutrition, and oral health care for their child. Our pediatric dentist will also examine the child’s teeth and gums, checking for any potential issues and providing preventive measures.

Is there something I should do before my baby gets teeth?

Establishing a pattern of separate eating and sleeping while your baby is small is very important. Feed the baby, then wipe off the gums with gauze or a clean damp cloth. By keeping eating and sleeping separate your baby will become accustomed to mouth cleaning routines. Keeping the bottle out of the crib allows the baby to learn to sleep through the night at a younger age, and avoids a later struggle over taking away the bottle at bedtime.

When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?

Parents should start cleaning their baby’s teeth as soon as they erupt through their gums! To start, parents can use gauze or a clean damp cloth wrapped around their finger after feedings, and most importantly before bedtime to wipe their child’s teeth clean at first. As soon as possible parents should change to using an infant safe toothbrush, as it will help to remove debris and plaque better between the teeth and along the gumline.

When should I start using toothpaste and how much should I use?

Once teeth erupt, you can start to use toothpaste. Toothpaste provides many minerals and vitamins to help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Due to young children under 5 swallowing a high percentage of toothpaste, the amount used must be limited. The AAPD suggests only using a “smear” amount of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice for children under 3 years of age.

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The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents establish a dental home for their child by the age of 12 months.

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