Whether your little one is one month or one year, dental and oral care are important. Baby teeth, also referred to as milk teeth, enable toddlers to speak more clearly and chew solid foods. Just like with permanent teeth, if these aren’t cared for, pain, irritation, infection, and the need for costly dental care can occur.
Our team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids wants to help your little one avoid those problems! Through education, we believe that all children can grow up with healthy, functional smiles. Here are five dental care tips for new parents from our experienced pediatric dentist, Dr. Matt:
1. Clean your child’s mouth at least once a day.
Teeth aren’t the only part of the mouth that requires cleaning. Parents should clean their infants’ gums daily to combat disease-causing bacteria that could affect the teeth below the gums. To clean the gums, wipe them gently with a wet gauze or cloth. Your little one may not like it at first, but he will get accustomed to the routine!
For infants and toddlers with teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized dollop of fluoride toothpaste.
2. Limit juice and other sugary beverages.
While apple juice, orange juice, and other fruit juices have some benefits, they are also packed with sugar that leads to bad breath and tooth decay. Water is a much healthier substitute for juice and other sugar-laden beverages.
Limit your little one to only one sweet beverage a day. Or dilute the juice by doing a fourth of a cup of juice and three-fourths of water. This may be an adjustment for your child, but the benefits are worth it!
3. Beware of baby bottle tooth decay.
Baby bottle tooth decay usually affects a toddler’s upper front teeth and first molars. Naptime and bedtime feedings, not cleaning the gums and teeth daily, and more frequent feedings can lead to baby bottle tooth decay.
4. Learn about healthy thumb-sucking and pacifier habits.
Sucking is a natural and healthy reflex, but one that should be pacified by age four. Prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use could lead to problems with the shape of their mouth or how the teeth develop. If your child is between two and four, talk to your pediatric dentist about how to encourage your child to stop his pacifier use or thumb-sucking habit.
5. Find an experienced pediatric dentist.
One of the best things you can do for your child is to find him or her a great pediatric dentist. This dentist should make you and your little one feel comfortable and welcomed. Kid’s dentists work hard to create an environment that children love and want to come back to! Additionally, you should feel comfortable enough to ask all the questions and know that the answers you receive will be accurate. There’s no better source for oral health information for your child than a pediatric dentist!
When you and your little one meet with Dr. Matt, you’ll know you are right where you are supposed to be! Dr. Matt loves dentistry and children, so pediatric dental care is his dream job! He loves working alongside parents to set their children up for a lifetime of healthy teeth.
To schedule a first appointment for your child, call (913) 685-9990.