Babies and Toddlers
Alpharetta, GA – Did you know it’s important to start caring for your baby’s teeth before they even come in? It’s true – even before the first tooth appears at the gum line, how you care for your baby’s mouth is crucial.
“Decay can set in even before the teeth erupt,” says Alpharetta children’s dentist Dr. Nanna Ariaban.
“Any time milk, formula, or breastmilk come into contact with your child’s gums, the sugars in them can soak into the gums, affecting the teeth below.”
This is why it is important to wipe your baby’s gums after each feeding. Use a wet washcloth or piece of gauze to gently wipe the surface clean.
Never send your baby to bed with a bottle. The sugar found in the formula, milk, or juice can pool in the baby’s mouth overnight, setting into the gums and attacking the teeth lying below the surface. When those teeth erupt, you might be surprised to find they already have decay. If your child falls asleep by soothing himself with a sucking reflex, give him a bottle filled with water or a dentist-approved pacifier.
For breastfeeding mothers, it is also important to wipe the baby’s gums after each feeding.
The first tooth typically appears around six months of age, but this can vary from child to child. By the child’s first birthday, it is important to schedule the baby’s first dental visit. You can also begin brushing with a small amount of infant toothpaste.
As your child begins to teeth, they may experience discomfort. The baby’s gums will be sore and he or she may be fussier than usual. To help relieve the pain, it can be helpful to offer the child a cold, clean teething object to chew on. If your child seems in a lot of pain, ask the dentist about an over-the-counter pain reliever that will work for your child’s age.
When your child begins eating food, pay close attention to the sugar content. Many jarred baby foods have high sugar content, which can add to tooth decay. If you give your child juice, do so sparingly and always dilute it with water.
Tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood disease today.
Tooth decay can cause pain, which can lead to problems with chewing and speaking. And preventing tooth decay can begin before you ever even see a baby tooth. These teeth play an important role in your child’s oral health by acting as space holders for the permanent teeth, and ensuring your child can eat and speak properly
If you have questions about how to properly care for your baby’s teeth and gums, call Dr. Nanna’s office today. If you have a concern, schedule an appointment for your child today.
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