Archive for November, 2012

Your Baby’s Oral Health

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

It is never too early to start taking care of your child’s teeth.  In fact, proper oral care should start well before your baby’s first tooth erupts by cleaning  your baby’s gums.  Twice a day, gently wipe your baby’s gums with a wet, clean terry cloth.  By wiping your child’s gums, you will create a clean oral atmosphere and help to get your child adjust to someone looking in their mouth.   When can you expect to see that first tooth?  The average age is 6 months, but some infants do not get their first tooth until they are 14 or 15 months old.  Do not panic if your child is a late bloomer.  On rare occasions, infants may be born with an erupting tooth.

Try  to say “no” to bottles in bed.  Never put your baby to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk, formula or fruit juice.  If a baby goes to sleep sucking on these drinks, the fluid will coat and sit on the teeth the entire sleeping period.  The sugar in these beverages will promote cavities in your baby’s teeth just like they do in adult teeth.  Extreme cases have been termed “baby bottle tooth decay.”   Instead, let your child finish his or her bottle before bedtime.  If you must give your baby a bottle when going to sleep, fill the bottle with water instead.

Be sure your baby drinks fluoridated water.  By the time your baby is 6 months old, he or she will require some ingestible  fluoride for healthy teeth.  Ingestible fluoride goes into the developing baby and adult teeth to create a stronger, tighter bond between the enamel tubules.  Most babies can get all of the fluoride they need from the water they drink.  Keep in mind that bottled water usually does not have any fluoride, and well water may not contain enough of the element.  In these cases, fluoride drops may be required.  If you have questions about fluoride, talk to your pediatrician or dentist about your child’s needs.

Brush your child’s newly erupted teeth.  Once the first teeth come in, you can clean them using a soft, flexible child’s toothbrush and water.  Continue to clean your baby’s entire mouth, not just the teeth.  Gently brush his or her first teeth with a very small  amount of fluoridated toothpaste.  Just swipe the tip of the brush with paste so the child does not swallow too much of the foam.   Switch to a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste once your child is age 2-3 and can spit the paste out better.

Take your child to the Dentist.  Pediodontist are dentist who specialize in children with unusual or major dental issues.  In most cases, your family Dentist should be able to take care of your child’s oral needs.   Your dentist will examine your child’s mouth and advise you on any concerns you have, such as thumb sucking.  If you are having trouble brushing your child’s teeth, your dentist can show you a few methods to ensure you are doing a thorough job.  Regular exams starting at age 3 – 4 are essential to your child’s oral health so be sure to keep regular appointments with your family dentist.


Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233




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