Being a new parent is exciting! But, it can often be challenging. Amidst the joys and responsibilities of parenthood, it’s essential not to overlook your baby’s oral health. Developing good dental habits early on can set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles. That’s why our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, is here to help (read more about Dr. Matt here!).
Is it time to take your little one to visit the dentist? Schedule an appointment with our top-rated pediatric dentist at Smiles Dentistry for Kids by calling (913) 685-9990 now!
Pediatric dentists understand the importance of oral care in infancy and early childhood. In this blog post, we share valuable tips to help new parents ensure that their little ones maintain optimal oral health.
Start Oral Care Early
Many parents hear that oral care should start once their child’s first tooth emerges, but it should actually start before then. After feeding, gently wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth or a soft infant toothbrush. This helps remove bacteria and establish a routine that promotes good oral hygiene.
Fluoride is crucial for developing strong teeth. The mineral binds with calcium and phosphates to form fluorapatite, which helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel. Once your baby’s first tooth appears, consult with your pediatric dentist about starting fluoride supplementation.
Monitor Feeding Practices
Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle. High-sugar liquids (like breastmilk, formula, or juice) can lead to infant tooth decay, known as “baby bottle tooth decay.”
Establish a Dental Home
Choosing a pediatric dentist for your child is vital. Start early by scheduling the first dental visit around your baby’s first birthday or when the first tooth begins to appear. A pediatric dentist specializes in infant and child dental care, ensuring a positive experience and offering valuable guidance for parents.
Practice Healthy Feeding Habits
As your baby transitions to solid foods, make nutritious choices that promote dental health, such as:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Healthy fats, like avocados and dairy products
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
Be sure to introduce a variety of textures and flavors to encourage chewing and jaw development.
Encourage Good Oral Hygiene Habits
As your child grows, encourage independent brushing. Supervise their brushing technique until they can do it effectively on their own using small, circular motions across all tooth surfaces for at least two minutes.
Limit Pacifier Use
Pacifiers can provide comfort, but prolonged use may impact dental development. Limit pacifier use after six months to avoid potential oral issues, like misaligned teeth or bite problems.
Avoid Sharing Utensils or Cleaning Pacifiers With Your Mouth
Bacteria in your mouth can transfer to your baby, increasing the risk of tooth decay. So, avoid sharing utensils, cups, or cleaning pacifiers with your mouth (use clean water instead).
Lead by Example
Let your children witness your commitment to oral health by maintaining your own dental hygiene routine. Brush and floss regularly, visit the dentist for routine check-ups, and prioritize a healthy diet.
Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park, KS
As a new parent, you play a pivotal role in your child’s oral health journey. By following these tips, you can help your little one develop healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Start your child’s journey toward healthier teeth and gums by scheduling an appointment at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Simply request appointments with our pediatric dentist here or at (913) 685-9990!